Once again my copy of Nottinghamshire Walker lands on the doormat, and once again, it`s full of interesting things ; details of Ramblers activities locally and nationally, an interesting article on local history (History Beneath our Feet by local member Linda Pitt), an account of a rally held locally to mark the first anniversary of the formation of Save our Forests and articles by guest contributors ( Cllr Bruce Laughton on Rights of Way and Steven Parkhouse, Chair of Friends of Kings Clipstone on The Kings Clipstone Project).
Speaking personally, I always like to read of local Ramblers activities in terms of grassroots campaigning and involvement with consultations etc. In this I am not alone - I seem to recall reading that the majority of paid-up Ramblers members rarely if ever walk with their local group, which must obviously imply that they remain members to support the campaigning side of the organisation.
So let`s spare a thought for the hardworking individuals who give up their spare time to involve themselves in this way, and let`s have a quick look at some of the issues on the agenda locally at present.
Housing remains an issue and I understand that the Ramblers have objected to plans for four sites ; three on the grounds that they are open spaces (Henry Mellish Playing fields, an area of Broxtowe Country Park and Aspley Gardens) and a fourth (Jubilee Campus) on the grounds that it threatens a right of way, a listed building and a nature conservation area.
Mineral extraction remains an issue locally. A proposal for quarrying at Two Oaks Farm/Thieves Wood (in North Notts) is I believe uncontroversial, but the Ramblers are objecting to a plan for dolomite extraction at Holbeck which also involves limestone quarrying at Steetley and a clay quarry near Bilsthorpe. The reason for the objection is the impact on the countryside and in particular on historic Creswell Crags (www.creswell-crags.org.uk ).
The group has also attempted to reclaim four Lost Ways (historic paths) in the Besthorpe area. The County Council have accepted one of these claims but the other three have been rejected and are the subject of an appeal.
Elsewhere, relationships with the County Council have gone more smoothly, and the Ramblers have welcomed the news that the Council has purchased four former mineral railway lines (Bilsthorpe, Calverton, Cotgrave, Clipstone) which are to be opened up for use by walkers, riders and cyclists.
The group has also welcomed recent improvements and additions to the Rights of Way network in the Trent Valley and local groups will be involved with the Trent Vale Walking Festival (www.trentvale.co.uk).
That`s enough for now, but I hope these are of interest, even to those of you unfamiliar with the area. Reactions to the Ramblers` style of campaigning can vary wildly (too radical ? Not radical enough ?) but in my view they normally get the balance about right.
For more information, visit www.ramblers.org.uk/Campaigns+Policy