Resident donates gate as villagers make a stand over footpaths

New gate in Oving.
New gate in Oving.

Villagers in Oving concerned about the state of paths in their area have formed an action group.

A group of concerned villagers met in the Black Boy pub in Oving on Wednesday, January 18 to form the Oving Paths Action Group (OPAG) and plan their first steps to improve the lot of walkers in and around the village.

Group organisers Rachel and David Barnett presented their survey of paths and stiles to a number of parish councillors and Jerry Michell of North Bucks ramblers Repairing & Improving Public Paths for Leisure & Exercise (rRIPPLE), who had called the meeting.

More than 50 problems were identified, from broken and dangerous stiles, damaged gates and overgrown paths, to poorly maintained footbridges and paths damaged by horses.

Jerry said: “Many villages face a similar dilemma, and the solution involves co-operation between volunteers, residents, land owners and both parish and county councils.

The Ramblers and its team of local volunteer fixers, North Bucks rRIPPLE, survey paths and recommend action to Bucks County Council, and then repair or replace broken stiles, usually with self-closing pedestrian gates. Funding can come from the parish council, or from local residents and walkers giving through the Ramblers’ Donate a Gate scheme.

“The goal is to provide attractive and safe walking routes for all, encouraging responsible leisure use of the working countryside. Oving is setting the pace by targeting its first ten sites for action and raising the necessary money.

“The parish council has promised funding and a local resident has already donated a gate, which was installed on the same day as OPAG’s first meeting. Local businesses and land owners also have a role to play, and it is hoped that work will start in earnest over the next few months to make Oving a place where walkers can step out with confidence.”

Details of Donate a Gate scheme at www.bucks-wmiddx-ramblers.org.uk