Volunteers help to improve footpaths in Acklington, Guyzance and North Broomhill

Acklington Parish Council has taken another major step towards restoring the 20 footpaths.

By Ian Smith
Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 1:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 1:32 pm

A survey of public footpaths around Acklington, Guyzance and North Broomhill found that 60% were rated difficult, or impossible to walk due to overgrowth and other impediments, such as broken stiles.

The parish council decided to tackle the problem by setting up a footpath restoration working party with 13 volunteer footpath wardens recruited to regularly walk the footpath network, acting as guides, guardians and occasional gardeners.

The biggest challenge the wardens faced was cutting back overgrown vegetation on pathways, and around gates and stiles.

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Acklington Volunteer Brushcutters. Back row, left to right: Peter Shaw, Simon Caiger, Nigel Moffat, David Shipley. Front row: Jeff Newton and Verity Williams.

Six volunteers recently undertook an intensive training course with the Border Training Group in the use of two new petrol-powered brushcutters which were purchased specifically for the task.

The volunteer brushcutters will work alongside the footpath wardens and local landowners to ensure footpaths are free of overhanging trees, invasive hedging and overgrown vegetation.

Cllr Jeff Watson, who covered the cost of the equipment from his small schemes allowance at Northumberland County Council, said, “It’s great to see people looking after their local footpaths and enjoying the countryside.

"This is a great example of what can be achieved when a group of enthusiastic people come together with a clear vision of how they can improve their local environment.”

Parish council chairman Jeff Newton added: “Our local footpaths are a great amenity and while Northumberland is a great place to explore we want people to be able to benefit from what’s on their doorstep.

"By working with our local landowners we want to ensure that every footpath in Acklington Parish is well maintained, easy to access and free of obstruction.”

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