Chairman's News!

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NEWS FROM THE CHAIRMAN

Chairman’s report for Area Council 17th August 2019

Devon Area 50th Anniversary Walk 7th September

George Coles and I have progressed this further by submitting an event notification form to DNPA, together with an event management plan and risk assessment. I have also asked DNPA to offer a speaker and Naomi Oakley, one of the Authority Members and chair of the Park Management Working Panel for the Authority, has agreed to speak

70Th Anniversary of the National Park (Update)

Concerning the new survey of the Dartmoor footpath network in late summer/autumn. We agreed to circulate to Devon Area groups seeking volunteer help, when details were available. This has now been completed and several members from various groups have volunteered.

Devon Countryside Access Forum

On 13th May, I was invited to a meeting with Hilary Winter, secretary to the Devon Countryside Access Forum to discuss its functions, application procedures and candidate assessment processes. It was agreed that I would circulate the details to Area Council, with a view to encouraging applicants for the next round of appointments in Jan 2020.

Letters to Devon County Council regarding footpath closures

Two letters to the chief executive of Devon County Council have been sent on the 23 April and the 20th June to secure an altogether better arrangement in connection with the future management of the “Beautiful Days” festival which takes place each August at Escot Park. This entailed PROHIBITIVE TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDERS IMPOSED ON PUBLIC FOOTPATHS NOS. 5, 6, 7, 85 AND 86 OTTERY ST MARY AND 4 TALATON

No response has been received to these letters and the East Devon Group is intending to take further action to progress this matter. I will continue to assist, as necessary.

Routes for Roots project

Bob Pond and I attended a meeting on 23rd July with Simon Bates, from East Devon District Council concerning a project he had been working up for Heritage Lottery funding please. EDDC are proposing a two year c£100k project in the Clyst Valley, just east of Exeter, and including most of the National Trust Killerton estate.  The project is called ‘Routes for Roots’. Bob and I agreed to offer a Ramblers letter of support and give some in-kind support e.g. leading some public walks.

Chairman’s report for the AGM 2019

In my second year as chairman of Devon Area, I can confidently say that we have a thriving area organisation and very active, welcoming groups. This has been achieved by the dedicated inputs of all our volunteers in group and area committees and walk leaders, both past and present. We have an excellent web site which is well used and on which all our groups publish their walks, allowing national visibility.

Our Area Council has also had a busy and fruitful year. At the Area Council meeting on March 17th, we discussed feedback on the AGM, motions for General Council (subsequently held on April 7-8th April), walk leading and first aid training and membership. We also welcomed a new volunteer, Celia Minoughan, who has taken on the role of social media co-ordinator.

In April, we started to receive advice from Ramblers Central Office concerning the new general data protection regulations. This has proved to be something of a minefield regarding what measures we need to implement at Area and Group Level. Various guidance notes have been formulated and discussed widely.

I attended a meeting of South West Water’s Conservation, Access and Recreation Forum on the 19th June. At this meeting SW Water presented their latest forward planning for supply and demand. They are concentrating on reducing water usage and reducing leakage and do not anticipate any major new resource development in the foreseeable future. SW Lakes Trust informed the meeting of their latest recreation activities, providing 5 day residential courses for young people, as part of a national initiative. SW Water also gave a presentation on the latest work in combating invasive non-native species, which is a significantly growing problem.

Our August council meeting at the Phoenix Hall, Bovey Tracey proved an excellent venue. It was very well attended by group representatives and some lively discussions took place concerning membership issues and GDPR. We established that most groups have taken appropriate action on GDPR and we decided that no further action on the matter is currently needed. Our new social media co-ordinator had been very active in setting up new media initiatives that show much promise in bringing Ramblers work to a wider audience.

During October and November, I attended the AGM’s of the Tiverton group, South Devon group and South Hams group, which were all well organised. All the other groups’ AGM’s were attended by my fellow officers.

As part of the Dartmoor National Park Management Plan review process I was invited to join in a debate on Thursday 15th November 2018 to discuss the future vision for understanding and enjoyment on Dartmoor. The outcomes of this meeting were diverse and comprehensive and were put into the melting pot for DNPA to consider further.

We have had some excellent publicity this year including the East Devon group on the banks of the River Otter on Breakfast TV, Totnes and South Devon groups’ appearance on ITV at the new clapper bridge on the Western Wella Brook, above the Avon Dam and Exeter’s chairman, Les Grant, interviewed by BBC radio.       

Finally, we produced the new Devon Ramblers Highlights 2018, which, in my view is an excellent and succinct summary of our activities over the year.       

Professor Andrew Chadwick

Launching the Franklin Totnes Trail August 13th 2017