June Mabon

June Mabon
Volunteering can be challenging at times and needs all the skills I have learned in life. Sometimes it`s hard work too but it’s always interesting and very satisfying.

Footpath Secretary | Trafford Ramblers

There is more to enjoy about footpaths than simply striding out on them. Keeping them clear of obstructing vegetation, well signposted and easy to walk on can be very satisfying too.

Footpaths (and bridleways) need to be used but often there are obstacles that discourage all but the most hardy walker, cyclist or horse rider. Many of these obstacles can be dealt with relatively easily and this is where volunteering with the Ramblers allows me to preserve public paths and improve them for all path users.

I work with fellow local Ramblers in a path maintenance team carrying out path inspections and doing minor vegetation clearing, waymarking and path surface repairs. It starts with a detailed inspection of the path to assess whether or not it is easy to use, measured against defined criteria.

Natural surfaced paths, with grass and wild flowers, can quickly become overgrown in the late spring and summer with brambles and nettles lurking under long grass. Working with three other Ramblers volunteers, we can clear a 275m path using hand tools and a line strimmer in a couple of hours. We get to know the paths in our locality. Some need a return visit with our loppers, shears and strimmer twice or more a year, some can be kept under control with a once a year good trim.

Urban paths that provide useful, traffic free cut-throughs between houses, often suffer from narrowing due to the encroaching hedges of neighbouring gardens. With the help of our local council, a friendly approach to the owner provides the necessary permission to trim back the hedge (and often agreement to dispose of the prunings in the household`s green recycling bin).

Wet winter weather brings mud in community green spaces and parks. We spread bark chippings on particularly muddy sections of path to absorb moisture and raise the level of the surface above mud level.

Our path maintenance team members have raised tree canopies to allow sunshine onto well walked but shady paths, and they have sawn off serious sized branches from overhanging trees under the guidance of the local council`s ranger team. And last but not least the team fix yellow waymark signs to make it easy to follow the line of a path.

June Mabon
Footpath Secretary, Trafford Ramblers

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