West Berkshire Council

West Berks Ramblers celebrate 50th anniversary

Ramblers also volunteer to support Council countryside team.

Ramblers Work Party - gate installation

West Berkshire Council congratulates the West Berks Ramblers on reaching its 50th anniversary today (Thursday 2 March).

The inaugural meeting was held in Newbury in 1967 and the group has been meeting for walks across West Berkshire and further afield ever since. More recently the group has been working with West Berkshire Council to help maintain paths and replace stiles with gates to improve the accessibility of the district's footpaths.

The volunteers, known as the Ramblers Work Party, first began working with the council in 1999 when it was asked to help support an outdoor activity project for Mencap clients. It has been supporting the council in its current format since 2003 to maintain paths and install new gates. It installed its 250th gate last year and has recently installed a commemorative gate on Snelsmore Common which will be unveiled by the West Berks Ramblers later today. You can read more about the 50th anniversary celebrations on its website.

West Berkshire Council supports the work of the volunteers by providing the equipment and tools for the work keeping paths tidy and installing gates. They also walk all 700 miles of public footpaths doing minor maintenance over a four-year period and report problems back to the council. Any significant work is undertaken directly by West Berkshire Council's countryside team.

The Ramblers Work Party has also started supporting the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).

Councillor Marcus Franks, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Community Resilience said: "I want to say a huge thank you to the ramblers for the positive contribution they have made to our community. Some of them have been working with us to install waypoints, clear vegetation and install new grates and we're very grateful for their efforts. The work they do is over and above what the council can provide and is very much appreciated. They are a great example of the difference volunteers can make and the support that can be found from the council."

Councillor Quentin Webb, Chairman of West Berkshire Council said: "Congratulations to the West Berks Ramblers on reaching this milestone and for half a century of promoting the benefits of exercise, fresh air and friendship. I wish the group every success for the next 50 years and hope the ramblers and the council continue to enjoy a long and productive relationship."

The West Berks Ramblers will be meeting later today to unveil the anniversary gate on Snelsmore Common and then go for a walk in the local area . The new gate will be unveiled by the West Berks Ramblers first chairman, Dr John Davies, attended by members of the West Berks Ramblers along with several guests including Council Quentin Webb, Chairman of West Berkshire Council, and Dr Kate Dent, BBOWT's director for Berkshire.

To find out more about the West Berks Ramblers visit the West Berks Ramblers website.