23 August 2017
I hope that you are enjoying the summer holiday season. I am just back from a wonderful fortnight in Northumbria and my head is still full of the heather-clad Cheviot Hills and stunning castles and coastline. It is spectacular countryside for walkers and I can highly recommend parts of the Northumberland Coast Path, Hadrian’s Wall Path and Saint Cuthbert’s Way. We saw seals and puffins on the Farne Islands and red squirrels at Howick, the ancient seat of the Earls of Grey since 1319 and the home of
Earl Grey tea, which I love. I have brought back copious supplies...There was plenty of tea - and strawberries too - at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) summer party, which I attended on behalf of the Ramblers just before I went on leave. It was fascinating to hear Michael Gove outlining his new vision as Environment Secretary. It was also terrific to have a chance to talk with the permanent secretary and to discover that she is a rambler. We agreed to meet again to discuss how the Ramblers can help to protect the environment and enhance rural life through our work to help everyone to
enjoy the outdoors on foot.
Before I went on holiday, I was also invited by Roy Hunt, area chair of East Yorkshire and Derwent Ramblers, to see the brilliant work which our path maintenance volunteers are undertaking around Scarborough with the North York Moors National
Park. This exemplary partnership approach is also being utilised by volunteers in Pocklington and Beverley and in many other Ramblers areas. The North York Moors Park Rangers told me that they simply didn’t know how they could operate in the currentaustere financial climate without the dedicated support that they receive from theRamblers.
Whilst I was in Yorkshire, Roy also organised a beautiful walk on part of the 79 - mile Yorkshire Wolds Way, one of
Britain’s fifteen national trails. It runs along chalky ridges, through distinctive flat - bottomed valleys, and is hauntingly serene. I also attended a lively area council meeting, where topics such as moving to electronic walkprogrammes, becoming actively involved in our Walk About festival and the best way to enhance contact with new members were all discussed. It's heartening to know that,wherever you are in the Ramblers, our issues and the opportunities remain the same.
This month’s update includes important information about membership rates from 1October and an opportunity to share your
stories about our extraordinary coast, now that we expect Natural England to announce very shortly that work has started on
every stretch of the England Coast Path. If you were unable to attend the recent Walking for Health review workshops you can find out how to contribute your viewsonline. And finally, I have included a brief update on the significant public inquiry into the
proposed closure of many footpaths across level crossings in Essex and Hertfordshire, which is due to start in Chelmsford, in the Autumn.
I wish you all the best for the August bank holiday and I hope that you have the opportunity to enjoy one of your favourite coastal walks, on a sunny day, before summer turns to autumn once more.
Vanessa Griffiths, chief executive officer
Phone: 020 7339 8578
Membership rates increase
From 1 October this year we will be increasing some of our annual membership rates broadly in line with inflation. Whilst the increase is small, and doesn’t affect all membership types, we are aware of the sensitivity and impact that such an increase has
on members. As such we have kept the increase to a minimum. The increase will help us to continue to deliver relevant and effective membershipbenefits and services to our members. It will also help us to support the growth of the Ramblers and carry on with our charitable work benefiting all members and walkers in Britain.
Life Individual Concession rate has been increased by 26%. Currently this is 48% of Life Individual Full – this is out of sequence with our other concessionary rates so the rate has been increased to achieve 60% of full membership rates. However, the majority of monthly and other concessionary* rates remain unchanged. Please help us to promote monthly membership as a way of spreading the cost throughout the year as we have noticed that more and more of our members choose to pay for their membership monthly by Direct Debit instead of a one - off annual payment.
New rates from 1 Oct 2017:
Current rates From 1 Oct 17
Individual Annual £34.50 £35.00
Individual Annual Concession* £20.50 £20.50
Individual Life £752.00 £770.00
Individual Life Concession* £364.00 £460.00
Individual Monthly £3.25 £3.25
Individual Monthly Concession* £2.25 £2.25
Joint Annual £45.50 £46.50
Joint Annual Concession* £27.50 £27.50
Joint Life £910.00 £950.00
Joint Life Concession* £446.00 £465.00
Joint Monthly £4.25 £4.25
Joint Monthly Concession* £2.75 £2.75
*Concessionary rates are available for full time students, people on means tested benefits or solely reliant on the state pension. These rates do not apply to overseas members. Life concessionary rates are for people over 60.
Recruitment leaflets with the new membership rates will be sent to all area and group secretaries, membership secretaries and publicity officers at the end of September. To order additional copies of leaflets or any other publicity materials please email
Toast the coast - please join in the celebrations and share your contributions with us
As an island nation, our coastline helps to define our very identity. Many of us will travel a long way for the perfect seaside spot, and those lucky enough to live in coastalcommunities treasure the wonders on their doorstep. The popular Wales Coast Path opened in 2012, in Scotland people already have the right to walk around the coast and in England, people are now eagerly awaiting the completion of the England Coast Path. Thank you toall our coastal access volunteers who have given so much of their time to walk, survey and map out the very best route for walkers – some over many years. There have been moments when the completion of the England Coast Path has been in doubt, so with nine stretches now open, work underway on many more, and the path due to open in 2020, we’re getting excited! To celebrate the good progress to date, you may already have noticed that our engagement team have been dedicating Ramblers August promotional activities to the coast. Find out how you can join in with our current celebrations on our website here.
We expect Natural England to announce very shortly that work has now started on every stretch of the England Coast Path, which is terrific news. Once this
announcement has been made, we will be sending out celebratory media releases to the local media. You may pick up some coverage and we may be in touch with some of
you, to ask you to speak to your local media. If you have any questions, or any storiesor ideas to contribute to our coastal celebrations, please email
Walking for Health - please submit your online contributions to the current review
As mentioned in my July newsletter, this summer we have been exploring the future direction of our Walking for Health programme in England. Thank you if you have
attended one of the workshops. In addition to seven regional workshops, we have also held workshops for staff, trustees and national organisations who are interested in
exploring how a future partnership might operate. These include, but are not limited to, the Richmond Group of Health Charities.
These workshops are being complemented by interviews with national policy leads from organisations like Public Health England, a literature review and online survey. The
review is being coordinated by Cloud Chamber – a professional research company – and will help us to develop a clear direction for Walking for Health in the future. You can
still contribute and help to shape this direction by completing the online survey. The results of this online consultation will be fed into the overall review process - all
comments will be read and considered. Your contributions will be anonymous.
Significant public inquiry - update on closure of level crossing footpaths
Our policy and campaigns staff are preparing for the public inquiry due to start in Chelmsford on 18 October into the closure of many footpaths across level crossings in
Essex and Hertfordshire. About 35 of the proposals have unsatisfactory alternatives, so we are opposing them. We have instructed counsel and four volunteers from Essex
area and Ramblers staff attended a pre -inquiry timetabling meeting on 9 August. We are busy preparing Proofs of Evidence (statements from our witnesses about each
proposal) to secure the best deal for walkers in this unusually large order programme of extinguishments.
Ramblers walking festivals - please apply for a festival award for Walk About 2018
As I communicated in my July newsletter, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, financial awards of up to £1,000 are available to help give your festival activities
a boost. The deadline to apply for an award for Festival of Winter Walks (23 December 2017 to 7 January 2018) has now passed, but you can still apply for an award for Walk About (26 May to 3 June 2018) until 24 September,by downloading the application form which can be found here.
Area AGMs -please send your details and flag any interest in hosting general council in 2019
Many thanks to those of you who have already provided us with the details for your area AGM. If you haven’t yet returned your form please can you do as soon as possible, to confirm your specific interests, to let us know whether you would likea trustee to joinyour meeting and to indicate whether your area would be interested in hosting general
council in 2019.
Ramblers Roadshow –Last chance to book your place for 2017
As mentioned in my newsletter in July, the Ramblers Roadshow is making its way to Glasgow and the Lake District on Saturday 9 and Saturday 30 September
respectively.Our roadshows have received terrific feedback from members and volunteers - so please book your free place now here.
Volunteer certificates and commendations - last 2017 deadline is 30 September
A final, gentle reminder that if there is someone you would like to recognise with a certificate or commendation this year, the final nomination window for 2017 closes on
30 September, so please nominate someone today. After this date, our chair will bestarting to shortlist commendation recipients for the 2018 National Volunteer Awards.
Ramblers Scotland - news on the establishment of a new access sub - committee
I’m pleased that our Scottish Council Executive Committee (SCEC) has established a new sub - committee, focused on protecting and promoting the country’s world -
class access rights. This new sub - committee will advise SCEC, support Scottish members working on local access matters and cooperate with Ramblers Scotland staff in
developing policy positions on access. The sub - committee consists of three SCEC members and one member of staff, and is expected to meet quarterly, by
teleconference, as appropriate. Early priorities include seeking clarification of some aspects of the access legislation, updating Ramblers access officer support materials
and highlighting the loss of bridges on many paths. A longer term goal is to persuade the Scottish Government to create better processes for fixing protracted access disputes.
Ramblers Cymru - update on Eisteddfod and meeting with Cabinet Secretary
The tradition of the ‘Eisteddfod walk’ started over 20 years ago, led by the Chair of the Countryside Council for Wales. For the last two years Ramblers Cymru have stepped in to run it, and we did so again this year. Over 20 people walked the Anglesey coast path, admiring the fantastic work of the Ramblers Silver Slashers. With an average age of 70,the Silver Slashers have successfully maintained and improved many miles of path network. Those attending the walk included representatives from the Snowdonia
Society, Welsh Government, a local councillor and two ex - Chief Medical Officers for Wales. Needless to say, the walk is now an annual fixture. Thanks to the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) Ramblers Cymru were also offered an afternoon session at the Eisteddfod, free of charge. Ramblers Cymru staffand volunteers actively engaged with members of the public at the event. It was refreshing to hear so many people supportive of our call to action regardingthe Welsh Government’s Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources proposal, which I mentioned in my last newsletter and which the director of Ramblers Cymru was able to discuss productively with Lesley Griffiths AM, Welsh CabinetSecretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, when they met earlier this month. lf you live in or visit Wales, please support Ramblers Cymru’s Taking Wales Forward campaign and submit your response to Welsh Government, by signing up here.