This last year has brought a big increase in people using our local public footpath network. There are some great walks in our area both on the Levels and the Quantocks.
If you want to look at where our footpaths are then visit this website that has a map that you can zoom into where the official public rights of way are: https://roam.somerset.gov.uk/roam/map
Unfortunately, we all know Somerset County Council is in financial difficulty and cannot afford to maintain the public footpath network to the standards we would like. They have a volunteer scheme to help maintain the network.
All you need to do is sign up to ‘Adopt a Path’ and report back any issues such as overgrown stiles or gates, missing or overgrown signposts or waymarks and overgrown vegetation. You can also assist a step further by helping to keep pinch points, signposts, stiles and gates vegetation free. In return, Somerset County Council will provide help and advice, cover under our insurance policy, and provide secateurs and gloves to help volunteers keep paths in tip top condition for all to enjoy.
This scheme is designed to be completely flexible and really is as easy as walking the dog – perfect for those who want to help the community but don’t have the time to commit to a more time demanding role. Volunteers are simply asked to adopt paths they will walk no less than four times a year, and most incorporate it into routes they walk on a more regular basis.
For those who have more spare time and want to get more practically involved in keeping the network open and clear, the Somerset Strimmer scheme is a great opportunity to learn a new skill that will keep you fit. The Somerset Strimmer scheme is where volunteers help cut back summer and winter vegetation along public footpaths and bridleways using strimmers. It is the most active of the roles because you must be capable of walking with and carrying machinery, including the kit that goes with it, and personal safety equipment.
For more information on these schemes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or apply online at https://volunteering.somerset.gov.uk/opportunities/rights-of-way-volunteer/.
Bill Revans, Somerset County Councillor