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November 2011
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To the Editor:
The Chilterns have some of the finest and best maintained paths in the country. They are well used by leisure walkers, serious hikers, joggers, Duke of Edinburgh students, cyclists, horse riders and others. In fact by most of us. The maintenance of the paths does not happen by accident. It is the responsibility of the County Council to ensure that rights of way are unimpeded and for this they employ a couple of professionals, as well as volunteers from the Chiltern Society, which is where I come in.
stile

The Chiltern Path Maintenance Volunteers are a group of about 35, mainly retired men, but there are a few ladies, who go out once a week to clear the paths and repair the stiles and kissing gates over quite a wide area of the Chilterns. The work can be exhausting (especially for us old men), but it is always rewarding and the lunch time beer is well earned. As we stride across country with our tools on our back we don’t actually sing “Hi ho, hi ho, off to work we go”, but we might well if we could sing. It is a magnificent way of seeing parts of the countryside one would otherwise never see.

One advantage for me is that I have a hot-line to the county rights of way officers and can usually get local work done if I push hard enough. So, if you come across paths that need clearing or stiles to be repaired let me know and I will see what I can do.

Barnaby Usborne
Lee Common

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