A day in the life of a parish footpath officer

I have been a parish footpath officer for the five parishes which make up the North Bromyard group for five years. And today has been one of the most satisfying days so far. Back in 2011 I identified a glaring problem with a path known to its friends as Wolferlow 11. There was no bridge over the stream – nor had there been apparently for 20 years. The helpful landowner told  me he redirected hapless walkers across a nearby bridge about 100 metres away. I then had the idea to try and get this nearby bridge  made into the proper route by a footpath diversion.

The wonderful Rachel Dixon, the footpath warden, helped me, the Council agreed, the  parish agreed, the proposal was advertised and all was going amazingly well. Then a problem. The Council wanted some sort of shared responsibility agreement with the landowner (though bridges are their responsibility). The landowner understandably refused, and there was delay upon delay, with little hope of progress, despite the  dozens of chasers I sent out.  I told myself it didn’t matter too much because I had signed the  new route as a permissive route – but really I was pretty disgruntled.

Then in September  2016  – out of the blue –  I saw that the legal  Modification Order had been actually  made. Even now I don’t know how the problem  was resolved, but resolved it was. So today with some apprehension I went out to inspect Wolferlow 11 to see whether the Order had now been confirmed and the new route signed.  And, yes,  it had been done!

Now you can see the point of the photo. You can see the new waymarker on the same post as the older permissive sign. But not any longer you can’t, because now I have removed the permissive sign.

For a PFO there are some days of enormous frustration and disappointment when landowners or contractors have not done the work they promised, or when a new problem emerges. But there are plenty of good days, and this was definitely a good day.



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