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Langham Parish Council


Footpath Report  2007-2008


The general condition in which footpaths have been kept, by the owners of the land, has been very good. As reported last year, to the north of the village, footpaths have been kept open and well signed, not only by signposts and markers provided by Essex CC, but by spraying the footpath line across fields and restoring disturbed land in a reasonable time period. I continue to be more than impressed by the unsung diligence of the landowners in maintaining our footpath network here.


Within the village and to the south the picture has been less consistent, but overall footpaths are clear and signed. Where problems exist either the problem has been solved or progress made towards a solution.


Footpath 49 is a case in point; blocked by undergrowth, the problem was reported by a resident and, despite difficulties in finding or contacting the owner of the land, the path was cleared by the man who used the land to cut up logs for firewood, after a completely amicable contact. To provide a handrail for the bridge over the stream, county have promised help …


Some footpaths need better signage, either as a result of diversion, as in the case of Footpath 22, where it crosses Springfield Farm Piggeries, or where the path crosses a long stretch of open farmland, as in the case of Footpath 33 just south of Park Lane. County have been contacted in both cases.


There has also been action by County on Footpath 31, just south of School Road, to ensure it returns to its correct line … and not in the ditch adjacent! I have discovered a new gate on Footpath 44, leading off Langham Lane, and assume this to be the work of County, but have no knowledge of it, and will investigate. It is disappointing not to have been informed of this development.


Tools for the upkeep of the footpaths were housed in the Homestead School, and a number of footpaths nearby were maintained by the boys. These tools have been rehoused since the closure of the school was announced and are now more generally available for maintenance of footpaths. I should like to thank the school for its efforts in keeping the footpaths open in the past few years.


An unspent budget was found in the Parish finances, so no new monies have been asked of the P3 Parish Partnership Programme this year. Although I have been unable to walk properly for a number of months during the last year, I am now looking at plans for the footpath network for the future, including gating suitable stiles and adding gravel to muddy sections where landowners are agreeable.


I should like to thank Ian Sutherland and his walk leaders for keeping up the monthly parish walk (I hobbled around a couple of times) and was impressed by the turnout, although most were outside the village, and the excellent footpaths we were able to follow.


During the year I have been notified of a small diversion of Footpath 26 around the new pond by the Black Brook, that fortuitously keeps the path on drier ground and on Footpath 25, the diversion of the path around the garden of ‘The Fens’. These are legal diversions agreed by County and changed only with some substantial expense by the landowners. The parish was not involved in these changes, and had it been, it may have been of some assistance as both schemes were worthy of support.


The VDS will be out very shortly, and in it there is an A4 footpath map (with the changes I mentioned but at a very small scale) and this has been reproduced on the village website. I have added a ‘monograph’ of Footpath 33 and would like to add more. A new large-scale footpath map is required and, when County have updated the Definitive Map, will endeavour to get one for our noticeboards.