Footpaths have always been of concern to the SVA as shown by the following statement of intention made at the Founding Meeting in 1846:
'… preserving and securing to the Public the use of such paths both in this and adjoining Parishes, as it may appear they have been accustomed, and entitled to enjoy.' Minutes of the Sidmouth Improvement Committee, 1846 (later to be the Sid Vale Association).
Within the Sid Valley there are 39 miles of footpaths and 20 miles of bridleways. For nearly 30 years the SVA has organised teams to carry out an annual survey of the condition of these rights of way. Members of the footpaths committee monitor nearly 60 miles of Public Rights of Way in the Sid valley. SVA members also lead regular walks, (listed in the SVA diary).
The SVA also assists the “Parish Paths Partnership”, (P3), which exists to ensure that the entire rights of way network is legally defined, properly maintained and well publicised and is a way of involving local communities or groups in the management of the local path network.
SVA volunteers regularly check on an allocated number of footpaths and bridleways. Any problems identified with overgrowth, fallen trees or damaged way marks are reported to the P3 co-ordinator. In addition, once a year a detailed survey is carried out on all 59 miles of public rights of way and collated into an annual report. This includes paying attention to signposts, fences, stiles, gateposts, bridges and path drainage.
On regular evenings during the spring and summer (and sometimes in the winter) a group of volunteers undertakes cutting and clearing of paths and improving path drainage. In the last couple of years, the team have cleared in excess of 25 routes round the parish making the use of the public rights of way a pleasant experience for all to enjoy.
To find out more about the Parish paths Partnership, click here