PMV Central Chilterns
Our objective, apart from enjoying the recreational aspects of the area, is a desire to make a contribution to maintaining the rights of way for the benefit of all who wish to enjoy the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
During the course of a year we can often complete hundreds of separate maintenance tasks in well over 50 parishes in the Central Chilterns area.
What we do
Most things necessary to facilitate access by the public to the ‘definitive’ rights of way. There is very little we cannot do, from the installation of waymark posts and clearing paths of overgrowth and undergrowth or fallen trees, to the establishment of new steps on banks (particularly desirable on chalk slopes especially in wet weather), or the repair of existing steps that have deteriorated over time and frequent use. We also replace or repair stiles, particularly the high maintenance parts such as the step plates and supporting ‘stobs’. Much of our work involves the replacement of stiles with gates to help improve access for all abilities.
Why we do it
The Chiltern Society’s Rights of Way Group, of which the PMV group is a part, actively protects and restores public rights of way in the Chilterns – in total some 4,900 paths, bridleways, etc. Responsibility for maintenance of the rights of way lies with county councils which in the case of the Central Area PMV is Bucks CC. The cost to the council to maintain all the rights of way, even to minimum standards using contractors is high, and without the support of the PMV, even prohibitive. The County Council recognises the valuable contribution made by the PMV by supplying materials and modest assistance towards the running costs of the group.
Over the years we have accumulated a wide range of tools and equipment from basic manual loppers and bowsaws, to the mechanical in the form of hedge trimmers, scrubcutters and chainsaws. This equipment is towed by one of our volunteers to the day’s work party meeting point in our ‘customised’ trailer.
We meet one morning each week, on average 40 times a year. Each work party is on a different day each week thus enabling our volunteers to pursue their other interests. We meet at a suitable pub location at 9.30 am and finish around 1pm with lunch during which the morning activity is discussed, friendly banter exchanged and ‘legs pulled’! From an active membership of 40, we average about 17 or 18 members per work party. This is an ideal number as there is a limit to the manageable numbers that can be organised by the day’s leader, who will have previously carried out a survey of the work to ensure compliance with Health and Safety requirements and organised those available into suitable teams.
For the latest Path Maintenance volunteering opportunities in Central Chilterns, please click here.
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