OxPA meeting
March 27 2012

Public Rights Of Way In Oxford City

Speaker: Anthony Dale, Footpath Secretary of Oxford City Ramblers

Tony described how the onset of Foot and Mouth disease in the countryside made town walking more popular, and that even in 1970 over 1000 acres of green accessible land remained in Oxford. The County Council Countryside Services are responsible for the upkeep and protection of public footpaths. With the new technology it is now easy and effective to report problems to them on-line using interactive mapping; the Definitive Map of Rights of Way, and the Definitive Statement describing each path are both available on-line. Financial cuts have reduced County staff, so volunteers are much needed to take on surveying and clearing neglected footpaths. Tony stressed the importance of paths linking the city with surrounding countryside and especially to ensure that new developments such as that proposed for Barton do not lose old rights of way. Also within the city, University developments such as Science Area and Radcliffe Infirmary site need careful monitoring to retain useful access routes by foot. The County encourages suggestions for reclaiming and creating new footpaths. Old maps can reveal existence of paths fallen into disuse which might be revived by public demand. The Rights of Way Act of 2007 gives until 2026 for reviving lost paths.

The Ramblers’ previous Footpath Secretary, OxPA member Keith Holly, contributed to the discussion, and Tony paid tribute to Keith’s great achievements during his many years with the Oxford City Ramblers.

We look forward to working with the Ramblers in these areas of mutual interest. Tony Dale can be contacted at tawadale@btinternet.com or through Corinne (779663) if you wish to discuss footpath problems or to become involved with the Ramblers’ work.