16 May 2018 by Guest blogger
Peter Dobson, local organiser and footpath secretary with Chiltern Weekend Walkers writes about the litter pick he organised as part of the Great British Spring Clean.
I wanted to support the annual Great British Spring Clean project, as it’s such a simple and visible way to make a difference to local paths. We decided to focus on Lacey Green as our group acts as path warden for the parish. We put on three walks on the same day covering 25 miles in total. This catered for the shorter, medium and longer distance walkers in our group - and all three walks ended at the same time at the same pub so all our groups could have a chat. 25 volunteers turned out in total, and we found that litter was the number one problem on our paths this spring - we netted more than 40 kilos of rubbish, which filled 14 sacks!
We came across many lager cans and crisp packets on verges and in woodland, but there were also gin bottles and, bizarrely, an electric carving knife. It's very sad that people think it's acceptable to drop all this stuff on our highways and byways, especially in such a beautiful area - Lacey Green is in the heart of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The groups found that the paths themselves are in a reasonable condition, although a few small issues were reported using the Pathwatch app. Given that it is spring, we did find a few paths that had recently been ploughed, so we will keep an eye on these to ensure the farmers reinstate them within a few weeks.
It's the first time we've completed an exercise like this and I was delighted at the great enthusiasm among our walkers for what we achieved. As a group we are going to look at other ways to encourage all our walkers to use Pathwatch to report footpath issues, and also to look for ways to clear litter as we go on our walks.
Peter Dobson joined the Ramblers in June 2017 as a local organiser. Local organisers are volunteers who support Ramblers groups with campaigns and raise the profile of the Ramblers locally. Find out more about local organisers here, or get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pathwatch is our nationwide campaign to make sure that all rights of way are well-maintained by 2020. Find out more and download the app to report path problems.