Arthur Wood

Cartographer, architect, author, campaigner, walker, entertainer, Berwicker. These are some of the fond memories of a founder member of the Berwick Group who passed away on 21st June 2014. For twenty- seven years Arthur used his many and varied skills for the benefit of RA members and the general walking public alike.

He learned his map reading and cartography while doing his National Service. Years later Northumberland County Council were recipients of very precise maps, Parish by Parish, detailing Rights of Way problems. He was also involved in the mapping of Access areas within the old Berwick Borough.

Initially he sent weekly reports to the local paper, later this task was taken over by each walk leader but Arthur kept a scrapbook of all these reports for the benefit of the group. His letters, cartoons and pithy comments concerning subjects ranging from chattering politicians to insensitive gulls will be remembered for many years to come.

Among Arthur’s campaigning successes were the retention of a town centre path threatened with being built on, now named Wood’s Wynd, and the restriction to one way traffic on the Old Bridge so that “Foot Passengers” can now walk in safety. As a proud Berwicker he funded the town’s membership of the “Walled Towns’ Association” when the recently formed Town council failed to do so.

He wrote books of town and Borough walks and edited a compilation of rambles in the Cheviots written by members of the group. Profits from book sales have been used to fund further publications and to part fund the reinstatement of Askew’s walk, a popular local path, which had fallen into disrepair. Arthur’s books were handwritten in the Wainwright style.

Recently he was recognized nationally for his calligraphy. This interest and exhibitions of painting kept him going during the difficult years since being diagnosed with various medical problems nine years ago. Arthur drew the sketches for the Lowry Trail boards which visitors to Berwick can hardly fail to miss. Another of his artistic creations was a pottery model of Spittal Street which has been exhibited on a number of occasions.

He and his partner Margaret walked the Way of St. Jacques across Spain and from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. It was only when away on these and other adventures that they missed the weekly walk with Berwick Ramblers. Arthur was, at various times, Footpath Secretary and Chairman. He attended his last committee meeting just a few months ago. He planned and took part in a number of themed walks undertaken by the group including the East to West coast borderline based on a book by Logan Mack (1926). More recently he was instrumental in getting walks for diabetics and Walking for Health started in Berwick. He was “Mr. Walking, Berwick”; Berwick ramblers were known as “Arthur’s Lot”!

Christmas dinners will never be the same again without Arthur’s contribution to the annual cabaret.

 

Many friends and relatives gathered to say farewell at the service held, appropriately, at the crematorium in the foothills of the Eildon Hills near Melrose on 27th June.