Andria Massey

Andria Massey
Since becoming a Ramblers member in 2004 I have gone from going on a few walks to improve my fitness, to being Footpath Secretary and Access Officer for the Ynys Mon group. I am also an active member of the ‘Silver Slashers’ footpath maintenance group and can often be seen wielding a power tool!

Footpath Secretary and Access Officer | Ynys Mon Ramblers

I moved to the Isle of Anglesey from Surrey in 2004 even though I had never visited the island before the house search. I thought that one way of meeting people and also to try to get fit after 40 plus years of a sedentary lifestyle was to join the local Ramblers group, the Ynys Mon Ramblers.

I went on a few walks and enjoyed finding new areas of my adopted island but life changed for me when I attended the group AGM. The Footpath Secretary resigned and I suddenly found myself volunteering for the role, even though I knew nothing about the work and particularly the case law involved.

After going through the files and papers I inherited, I started writing to Anglesey County Council to attempt to get the many problem paths unblocked. It soon became clear that this was not the way to go as I rarely received an acknowledgement of my correspondence. Trying a different method I then arranged for members of our group to meet regularly and prioritise the problems with the Head of Highways and his footpath staff.

Six years ago John Stubbs and Paul Brown formed a path maintenance group called the ‘Silver Slashers’ and my work (and hair colour) dovetailed neatly into this group for which I regularly turn out. I can’t profess that my skills have improved that much, but I contribute as one of the willing unskilled workers.

Despite a not very promising start, the relationship between both Anglesey County Council and the group blossomed as the Council soon realised what a good resource they had. We achieve much more success working closely with the Highways staff and can say our partnership is the envy of many.

After four years in the Footpath Secretary role, the Access Officer resigned and as there was interaction between both role and no other volunteer, I managed to combine them. This has led to successful negotiations to complete a priority list of areas where there are gaps in the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path.

After seven years of lobbying, a new section along the Alaw Estuary is nearing completion. Hopefully further sections will be completed although the huge reduction in funding of the Wales Coastal Path will mean we will not progress as quickly as we wish, this lack of funding will make it impossible to take on the large landowners on the island but we live in hope.

So my volunteering activities, which include dealing with footpath problems, notices and consultations, being a member of the island’s Local Access Forum and helping with the running of the Ynys Mon Ramblers have grown dramatically since I took the decision to join the Ramblers in 2004.

Did I know what I was letting myself in for? The answer is no. Am I sorry I volunteered? The answer is also no - what we have all achieved on the island is remarkable, not many “golden oldies” can say that particularly one who suffered a heart attack in 2011 and is still going strong!

Andria Massey
Footpath Secretary and Access Officer, Ynys Mon Ramblers

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