Path Warden Report - Annual Parish Meeting 2019

Introduction

This report covers the period since the last Parish Annual Meeting.

Path Warden’s terms of remit

The Path Warden (PW) volunteer is responsible to the local volunteer lead who, in turn, answers to the Oxfordshire County Council (OCC)-appointed Path Warden Supervisor who oversees all PW volunteers.

The PW provides local ‘eyes’ when dealing with path problems and supplements the parishioners’ own available reporting mechanisms which include ‘fixmystreet’ and via the countryside access map system:

https://publicrightsofway.oxfordshire.gov.uk/web/standardmap.aspx

In addition, parishioners may report problems to the PW.

It should be noted:

  1. The PW has no powers.
  2. The PW only monitors public rights of ways (footpaths, bridleways, byways and so on designated as public rights of way). This monitoring is usually limited to general navigability and signage.
  3. The PW does not monitor, or have a remit for, Permissive Paths or other footpaths.
  4. The PW does not have a remit for the management of wildlife or arboreal matters on or near rights of way of the PW’s concern except where navigability is impacted or there is a reported safety concern upon which the PW will take advice from OCC.
  5. The PW has no remit for pavements/footways unless they are a public right of way.
  6. The PW is not responsible for carrying remedial work which exceeds simple treatment with secateurs and so on. OCC are usually called upon to do this work but the Parish Council do have Powers to repair and maintain public footpaths and bridleways (Highways Act 1980, ss. 43,50).

Activity

There has not been as much activity as I would have liked. However:

  1. Footpath 6 (Warborough Road (part)/Thame Road/Quaker Lane):
    1. There is continuing concern over the state of this path in Warborough Road. OCC will be asked to deal with the level of leaf mould
    2. Thame Road/Quaker Lane twitten: OCC have noted officially that the surface of this twitten is far from ideal and have agreed it needs fixing. There is no start date for this work….
    3. I have noted the level of surface disturbance due to tree roots.
  2. Footpath 9 (the ‘diagonal path’ and along Henfield View):
    1. There has been the usual level of concern about this path. The PW is in contact with the landowner and, between us, we shall maintain the right of way whilst considering the overall legal situation with rights of way crossing crops.
    2. Parishioners are respectfully reminded of the situation with horse riding along footpaths identified as public rights of way: horse riding is not permitted.
  3. Footpath 17 (Elm Bridge roundabout (BP garage) to the junction with path 16 (Green South to the Benson/Warborough Parish boundary) and the southern end of the Permissive Path): There has been some correspondence about the present situation on this path and a reminder of the overall situation would not be amiss:
    1. The landowner is presently carrying out tree management work as the trees adjoining the ‘drain’ are in a poor condition and there is an associated risk of the ‘drain’ being blocked as a result of the falling limbs from these trees.
    2. The initial felling activity was carried out within the recognised time window for this work.
    3. The landowner is employing a contractor who specialises in this work. The contractor and the landowner are in contact with me.
    4. The contractor will contact me when the work is completed with anything impacting the path having been removed.
    5. The navigation of the path is not affected by this work to the extent that the path is still usable. There is one pinch point but the path is still navigable.
    6. The PW is in contact with the PW in Benson and with Benson PC.
  4. Footpaths 18 and 19 (St Laurence Church churchyard: path from the lichgate to the churchyard east entrance (18) and the path from the churchyard north entrance to intercept path 18 just to the east of the Church itself (19)): This path is monitored by me in my role as Verger at St Laurence. Care is taken to make sure the surface is sound on footpath 18, especially between the lichgate and the Church.

Future activity

  1. Footpath ‘7’ (northern edge of the Six Acres Development): When this footpath is formally recognised again as a Public Right of Way, it will be included under my remit.
  2. Footpath 11b (‘Pain Way’ between the Pig Farm northern entrance (on the A329 due N of Warborough) and the NW end of Hammer Lane): Due to possible future building activity, I will be monitoring this path as far as my remit is concerned. Once this work is completed, I will again push for the OCC footpath signage to be improved where this path deviates away from the farm itself and along the northern farm site boundary.

Other matters

I include the following for completeness but I stress these paths are not within my remit:

  1. The Millennium Walk: There have been complaints of the surface being chewed up both on the path itself and on the opposite side of the ditch. The complainant was advised to seek any redress via the PC and the landowner.
  2. Plough Field: Signs erected by the landowner to advise walkers that the there are no public footpaths in this field have been removed.

I would like to thank the Parishioners for routing their concerns through me. In this way, the general approach to handling perceived problems is coordinated between the general community and the landowners.

The opportunity is taken here to thank the PC for their continuing support.

Bill Oscroft – Warborough and Shillingford Path Warden

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