Helmdon Parish Council

Serving the people of Helmdon

Clerk: Mrs Helen du Bois
2A Station Road, Helmdon
Northamptonshire NN13 5QT

Paths Group & Health Walks - News Archive 2008-2013

Leaders Wanted - posted 22 November 2013

The very successful Helmdon Health Walks on Thursday afternoons need more volunteers to train as back-up leaders.

These walks are part of a national effort to promote walking as a healthy leisure activity and are sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support and The Ramblers Association. There is no need for a regular commitment to how often you would help. Free training is provided by SNC with the next course on Friday 29th November, 9:30am - 4:00pm.

Please contact Roger Miles if you are willing to help with this worthwhile village activity.

Possibility Of Snakes On Certain Footpaths - posted 05 September 2013

There has been a report of snakes, possibly adders, in Wicket Mead, which is the overgrown field South of the bridge at the end of the old station coach yard. There are three well-used footpaths crossing this field, so beware!

Footpath Clearance On Saturday 03 August - posted 20 July 2013

Volunteers are called for to help with clearing the old railway permissive path on Saturday 3 August.

We will meet at 10.00am at the bridge behind Jeffs coach yard, where the path starts, and see how far we can get. Many dog walkers use this path and so I hope some will join in.

Roger Miles - Warden, Parish Paths Group

Start Of Summer Evening Walks - posted 18 June 2013

Summer evening walks start on Monday evenings, commencing on 24th June and ending on 5th August. We meet at the Bell in Church Street just before 7pm and aim to cover at least five miles before dusk and a welcome drink! So please put these dates in your diaries and do join us!

For further details contact Roger Miles

Farewell Lesley and Date for Start of Summer Evening Walks - posted 18 April 2013

On Thursday 11th April we regretfully said farewell to Lesley Kinghorn who has been a splendid walk leader. Lesley will be remembered for her lively good humour and inspirational enthusiasm, especially during our muddy, cold winter walks. At our post-walk tea we were pleased to give Lesley a token of our appreciation, which included a guidebook to walks near her new home in Lincolnshire.

This year there will be a shorter season of summer evening walks on Monday evenings, starting on 24th June and ending on 5th August. We meet at the Bell in Church Street just before 7pm and aim to cover at least five miles before dusk and a welcome drink! So please put these dates in your diaries and do join us!

For further details contact: Roger Miles

Health Walkers Lunch - posted 03 February 2013

On Monday 28th January, 26 members of this friendly group enjoyed a splendid buffet lunch at The Bell to mark the beginning of another walking year. Sally and Richard laid on a sumptuous spread and many of us were tempted to take hearty seconds before the puds appeared! During the lunch Judy Cairns was warmly thanked for organising the lunch, and for ensuring that we always enjoy tea and cakes in the Reading Room after our Thursday afternoon walks. Why not join us?

Roger Miles and Lesley Kinghorn - Walks Leaders.

Parish Walk Dates, End of 2012 and Beginning of 2013 - posted 09 December 2012

We will walk on 13th December and then take a break until 10th January 2013. Time: 1.45 p.m. and venue the Reading Room.

For details contact Roger Miles (walks leader)

Summer Health Walks - posted 30 April 2012

These begin on Monday 14 May at 7 p.m. from the Bell. click for poster (on Helmdon.com)

New Stock of Footpath Maps - posted 06 April 2013

Following some reprints we now have a good stock of the large map showing footpath walks and bridleways round Helmdon and each of the four leaflets describing circular walks that all start from the Bell. Anyone who would like copies should contact me.

Roger Miles - Warden, Parish Paths Group

New Up To Date Parish Walks Map Available - posted 27 October 2012

A new up to date Helmdon Footpaths map has been produced by Helmdon Parish Paths Group showing footpaths, permissive paths and bridleways, for Helmdon and the surrounding area and if anyone would like a copy to contact me, they are free to all residents.
Lesley Kinghorn

Footpath Clearance - A Thankyou - posted 24 August 2012

I would like to thank all the people who gave up their time to help with the path clearing

Without the regular maintenance the paths would become overgrown and impassable. This would be detrimental to the enjoyment of those of us who walk these paths regularly or not so regularly. Your efforts were much appreciated.

Roger Miles - Warden, Parish Paths Group

Footpath Clearance This Saturday 11 August - posted 07 August 2012

This Saturday the plan is to tackle the permissive path along the old LMS railway towards Astwell, starting at the restored bridge at about 10.00am

Your help would be much appreciated.

Roger Miles - Warden, Parish Paths Group

New Circular Walk Leaflet - posted 24 July 2011

Helmdon Parish Paths Circular Walk 4 has been produced by the Footpaths Group and will be put through your letter box during the next week.

We hope you have enjoyed the walks suggested in leaflets 1,2 and 3. If you do not have a copy of these and would like one, please contact Roger Miles.

Volunteers Wanted For Footpath Clearance - posted 15 June 2012

click for poster (on Helmdon.com)

Report For The AGM Of Helmdon Parish Council - posted 24 May 2012

Part of my role is to liaise with the Rights of Way officers at Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) on behalf of the Parish. I am pleased to report that during the past year they have contributed a good deal to improving our paths, despite some staffing issues.

In particular the new stiles and bridge on AP14 (towards Stuchbury) and the recent new gate on AP29 (from Field Way) are very much appreciated. Some issues with landowners were addressed and an agreed list of priorities for further works is in hand.

My work to keep under review the 44 paths, which provide some 31 kilometres of rights of way in the Parish, is very greatly assisted by the active Paths Group, chaired by Mike Barnes; it developed from the Parish Plan. The Paths Group's practical work has included cutting back hedges, repairing stiles and improving the permissive path along the old railway route towards Astwell.

The highlight of my report last year was the extension of this path with the agreement of the landowners. Several people helped with the bridge-building and brush cutting work that was needed to open this path. It is pleasing to see how use of this new path has increased.

The route and status of the permissive path around the outside on the churchyard has been formally agreed with the landowner. This is now the third permissive path in the Parish.

Copies of the village footpaths map that the Paths Group produced in 2006 are still available and a reprint is being prepared. The fourth in our series of leaflets on circular walks around Helmdon is ready for printing; it describes walks to Wappenham and back in a figure of eight.

The Health Walks scheme now sponsored nationally by The Ramblers Association and Macmillan Cancer Support, and facilitated locally by South Northants Council, has been active in Helmdon for three years. Thursday afternoon walks continue throughout the year, with only a few cancellations for bad weather; they start from the Reading room at 1.45pm and return for tea soon after 3pm. On Monday 14 May we started the fourth year of summer evening walks, departing from "The Bell" at 7pm and returning by dusk; these will continue weekly until the 20 August.

Several landowners have generously assisted with the planning of varied routes for these walks, for example by allowing some diversions from the official paths for these led groups.

The two trained Health Walk Leaders in the village are Lesley Kinghorn and myself. We are grateful for the regular help of other leaders from Pattishall and Brackley.

The frequency and popularity of our Health walks has enabled me to present solid evidence to the current windfarm inquiry. There were some 50 walks in 2011 with an average of 15 people on each walk. Recently we have walked through the site several times.

Our path AP16 through Grange Farm becomes AN10 at the boundary with Greatworth Parish and then runs very close to the proposed positions of the wind turbines. Their impact on AN10 is a focal point in the argument and a concern for Helmdon's users of this attractive path.

To end on a mundane but serious point, I must note that there are still too many incidents of dogs fouling footpaths. I hope that the recent publicity in Helmdon Voice will be heeded.

Roger Miles

Our Parish Paths Warden Receives Exceptional Service Award - posted 10 October 2011

Roger Miles, who organises and leads the Helmdon Walks has received an Exceptional Service Award from SNC. The award also recognises Roger's role as Parish Paths Warden in ensuring paths are maintained and extended where possible together with the publication of four leaflets, available free, with details of permissive footpaths in the parish. The well attended walks have enjoyed fine countryside and varied routes, some of which were only possible by the generosity of local farmers in allowing diversions from public footpaths which is much appreciated. Well done Roger!

Extract from the Village Newsletter no. 1, Autumn 2011

The walks group approaching Helmdon viaduct
photo: Karen Jones

Thanks Farmers - posted 27 August 2011

The third year of Helmdon's summer evening walks began on 16 May and ended on 22 August. These popular walks of between 5 and 6 miles have enjoyed fine countryside and varied routes, some of which were possible only because of farmers generously allowing planned diversions from the public footpaths. The Helmdon walk leaders have very much appreciated this help with planning routes and the end of another season of Monday evening walks is a good time to say thank you. One evening a farmer also went to considerable trouble to corral his lively beef steers so that we could pass through to complete a lovely circular route!

Helmdon's Thursday afternoon walks continue throughout the year, unless the weather is really awful, and these too are often helped by farmers allowing access to private tracks and field edges. Of course the walk leaders always make clear when the group is going off public paths, stressing that this is by specific permission.

Roger Miles (Walks Leader)

New Footpath Bridge (photo by Richard Foster)

New Footpath: Help Needed On 16 July - posted 11 July 2011

Thanks to an agreement between the Parish Council and the landowners, public access to the old railway track towards Astwell was extended in January 2011 by the opening of a new permissive footpath.

Volunteers helped with the bridge building and brush cutting work that was needed to create this path, and it is good to see how well this new amenity is being used. If you've not seen the bridge, here is a photo!

Parts of the path to the new bridge are getting overgrown and so the Helmdon Footpaths Group will be working there on Saturday 16th July, 10.00am onwards, cutting back the nettles and brambles. Extra hands would be most welcome.

Roger Miles

Report of the Helmdon Parish Paths Warden for the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council - posted 26 May 2011

Part of my role is to liaise with the Rights of Way officers at Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) on behalf of the Parish. I am pleased to report that throughout the past year they have responded well on a variety of matters. Several new bridges over ditches have been installed, stiles improved and new signs have been provided; some problems with landowners were addressed and an agreed list of priorities for further works is in hand. Also NCC have distributed a new definitive map of our paths, dated 1 October 2010.

My work to keep under review the 44 paths, which provide some 31 kilometres of rights of way in the Parish, is very greatly assisted by the active Paths Group, chaired by Mike Barnes that developed from the Parish Plan. The Paths Group's practical work has included cutting back hedges, repairing stiles and digging a drainage ditch. With the agreement of the landowner, Mervyn Humphrey, work to improve the permissive path along the old railway route towards Astwell has continued. This path is not a right of way but is an amenity that many use.

The highlight of the year has been the extension of this path with the agreement of the landowners, John and Geoff Watson. Several people helped with the bridge-building and brush cutting work that was needed to open this path. It is pleasing to see how well the new part of this path is being used and appreciated.

Copies of the village footpaths map that the Paths Group produced in 2006 have were distributed widely but some are still available. During this year we published the third of our series of leaflets on circular walks around Helmdon. A fourth on walking to Wappenham and back in a figure of eight is nearing completion.

The Health Walks scheme sponsored by South Northants Council is active in Helmdon. Thursday afternoon walks continued throughout the year, with only a few cancellations for bad weather; they start from the Reading room at 1.45pm and return for tea soon after 3pm. On Monday 16 May we will start a third year of summer evening walks, departing from "The Bell" at 7pm and returning by dusk; these will continue weekly until the last one on 22 August.

Several landowners have generously assisted with the planning of varied routes for these walks, for example by allowing some diversions from the official paths for these led groups.

Unfortunately there have been too many incidents of dogs fouling footpaths and running unchecked in fields with stock; also of gates being left open and fences broken down allowing stock to stray.

I am always pleased to hear from anyone with a paths question or problem and apologise that I cannot be present at this meeting.

Roger Miles


Parish Paths Group Report From Autumn 2010 Talkabout - posted 29 December 2010

We meet regularly, under the chairmanship of Mike Barnes, to identify and solve problems with the 20 miles of footpaths in the parish; the members are Vic Butler, Richard Foster, Roger Miles, John Thorne and Viv Watson.

During the summer working parties have cut back bushes, nettles and brambles, and repaired stiles. A special effort was made to keep clear the permissive path along the former railway track towards Astwell. We are most grateful to the volunteers who have helped with this work, particularly Jeff Abbey, Neil Buckley, Pat McAuliffe, Danny Moody and Julian Partis.

Many people walk their favourite paths regularly and others enjoy this access to our countryside from time to time, respecting that dogs need to be controlled, rubbish taken home and gates closed. Our local landowners play their part in marking paths through growing crops, cutting hedges and insulating electric fences. But Helmdon still has too many instances of gates being left insecure and dogs fouling paths.

As Parish Paths Warden, appointed by the Parish Council, part of my role is to liaise with the Rights of Way officers at Northamptonshire County Council (NCC). During 2010 NCC have had less money to spend on works such as installing bridges and signposts, but an initiative to ensure landowners sprayed out paths through growing crops was very effective.

In 2006 the Paths Group produced a general map of Helmdon's paths and bridleways; a few copies are still available and a reprint is planned. We have also produced leaflets describing routes for circular walks around Helmdon:

No 1, a long walk via Sulgrave and Weston.

No 2, a shorter walk to Stuchbury and back a different way.

No 3, a southern circle via Radstone; this was issued in August.

We are grateful to HYHO, the Parish Council and Councillor Andrew Grant for help with the printing costs of these leaflets, which were freely distributed; copies are still available. Also work is being done on routes to the East and South.

Any suggestions or offers to help with the Group's activities will be most welcome.

Do contact me if you have a footpaths problem or question, or would like one of the leaflets or maps.

Roger Miles – Warden, Parish Paths Group

Parish Paths Group Report From Spring 2010 Talkabout - posted 31 May 2010

During the winter the Paths Group have met regularly, under the chairmanship of Mike Barnes, to identify and resolve problems with the 31 kilometres of footpaths in the parish. Several working parties have valiantly cut back bushes, nettles and brambles, and repaired stiles. We are most grateful to the volunteers who have helped with this work, particularly Neil Buckley, Pat McAuliffe, Danny Moody and Julian Partis. Our local landowners constantly play their part in marking paths through growing crops, cutting hedges and insulating electric fences.

Many people walk their favourite paths regularly and others enjoy this access to our countryside from time to time, respecting the code that dogs need to be controlled, rubbish taken home and gates closed. Sadly this winter Helmdon has had too many instances of gates being left insecure and dogs fouling paths.

As Parish Paths Warden, appointed by the Parish Council, part of my role is to liaise with the Rights of way officers at Northamptonshire County Council (NCC). My autumn 2009 report to the Parish Council detailed the improvements NCC have made in recent years by replacing stiles with gates, installing bridges and signposts, and adding safe, firm surfaces to several gateways. Some of these are a good distance from the centre of the village but they are there!

In 2006 the Paths Group produced a general map of Helmdon's paths and bridleways, a few copies are still available and a reprint is planned. Enclosed with the last edition of Talkabout was a Circular Walk leaflet (no 1 Sulgrave and Weston) that we produced, with financial support from the Helmdon Young Husbands Organisation. We were pleased by the very positive response and so have produced two more; leaflet no 2, via Stuchbury, was distributed in February and no 3 via Radstone, should be ready for inclusion with this Talkabout.

Any suggestions or offers to help with the group's activities will be most welcome. Currently the Paths Group members are: Mike Barnes, Vic Butler, Richard Foster, Roger Miles, John Thorne and Viv Watson.

Do continue to contact me if you have a footpaths problem or question, or would like one of the leaflets of maps.

Roger Miles - Warden, Parish Paths Group

Summer Health Walks - posted 5 May 2010

click for poster (on Helmdon.com)

Helmdon Parish Paths Circular Walk No.2 - 7 February 2010

In co-operation with Michael Barnes (graphics), Parish Paths warden Roger Miles has produced No 2 in the Helmdon Parish Paths circular walks series. It is a walk to and from Stuchbury of approximately 3 miles and (if the ground is not wet or frozen) will take around 75 minutes. Look out for its delivery through your door in the near future and for circular walk no 3, which is to published in the spring.

Winter Walks Begin 7 January - 4th January 2010

Weekly Walks will be resuming after the Christmas Break, starting on Thursday 7th January at 1.45 from the Reading Room. Stout footwear and warm clothing essential for a one Hour Walk, returning for tea in the Reading Room!

click for poster (on Helmdon.com)

Winter Walks - 27th September 2009

click for poster (on Helmdon.com)

Summer Walks - 20th May 2009

click for poster (on Helmdon.com)

Report From Autumn Talkabout - 4th November 2008

Under the chairmanship of Mike Barnes this group has continued to monitor the rights of way in the parish, to carry out minor works such as cutting back hedges and repairing stiles, and to work on projects to improve access to the countryside. The group was set up to address needs expressed in the Parish Plan survey, one of which was for an off-road cycle route to Brackley. A feasible proposal was developed but it did not gain the support of all the relevant landowners and so the Paths Group will be putting this matter back to the village in the next survey.

As Parish Paths Warden, appointed by the Parish Council, part of my role is to liaise with the Rights of Way officers at Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) on behalf of the Parish. Early in 2008 this work was hampered by the radical reorganisation that NCC chose to impose on their Rights of Way staff. However, things have improved gradually so that during the summer some of our longstanding needs could be dealt with. In particular the bridge that was installed after the July 2007 floods has been improved, though it is still seen to be a poor replacement for what was there before. Two broken gates on the Bridleway to Weedon Lois were replaced, but more work is needed to add a safe, firm surface to the gateways. In August the path from Cross Lane towards Astwell was improved greatly by NCC replacing two stiles with kissing gates.

The Helmdon landowners also play their part in keeping paths accessible and have generally responded positively and quickly when problems have been raised. In return, walkers and riders should remember their responsibilities to respect the countryside.

The village footpaths map that the Paths Group produced in 2006 was distributed widely and is still available, thanks to financial support received from the Helmdon Young Husbands Organisation. This has also enabled the Group to develop the first of a set of notes on circular walks around Helmdon. Copies of walk no 1 (and the village footpaths map) are obtainable from me.

Anyone with suggestions or offers of help will be most welcome. Currently the Paths Group members are: Mike Barnes, Vic Butler, Richard Foster, Roger Miles, John Thorne and Viv Watson.

Also do contact me if you have a particular paths problem or question.

Roger Miles - Helmdon Parish Paths Warden

Winter Walks - 7th October 2008

click for poster (on Helmdon.com)