The partnership is between Herts. County Council Environment Department through its countryside access officers, HCC Countryside Management Service and Hunsdon Parish Council. Their aim is to maintain and enhance the rights of way network.
For its part the Parish Council’s role is to monitor the condition of the paths and ensure they are kept open for public use and that any structures, i.e. stiles, gate, bridges etc. are kept up to standard. To achieve these aims there is a close working relationship between the three branches of the partnership as well as with the local landowners and farmers. Grants are available from the County Council to cover costs of materials and labour where local volunteers are not available. A secondary role of the partnership is to make people aware of the footpath network and to encourage full use by means of publicity and production of maps and leaflets or media such as this web site. The Parish Council formally joined the partnership scheme in May 1999. As parish paths warden the services were enlisted of David Hunt, a former parish councillor whose previous responsibility was for the local rights of way. His new role was to act as co-ordinator with day-to-day responsibility for upkeep of the paths and liaison with local farmers. John Ashley, parish clerk, acted as the second member of the team providing administrative back up and responsibility for the implementation of capital projects and financial management of county council grants.
Unfortunately due to other commitments David Hunt was unable to give such time to the project as he had hoped and reluctantly withdrew early in 2001. John Ashley although retiring from the clerk’s position at the same time agreed to take over as footpath warden and continued in this capacity until 2014, when Bud and Jackie Carthy jointly took on the role. Their initial task was to carry out a comprehensive survey of each of the rights of way in the parish detailing the surface conditions and condition of structures. This was submitted to the County Council rights of way department together with recommendations for improvements and over the next year various works were carried out to implement these. Farmers were involved with a view to enlisting their co-operation in keeping paths across arable fields open and at the same time a programme of periodic mowing and strimming of field edge paths was organised by the countryside access officer at HCC to ensure that these were kept open throughout the year. The next step was to tell the public about the facilities available.
In 2003, following the upgrading of the rights of way the Parish Council decided to embark on a programme to promote the footpath system to the public and initially worked with Eastwick Gilston Parish Council to produce a footpath map covering both parishes. Using a grant under the Parish Paths Partnership an artist was engaged to draw the map and a firm engaged to make a series of map display boards which were sited at various places in both parishes in the spring of 2004.
The map board was regard as Stage 1 of the project and whilst showing all the paths, was not a lot of good for walkers unless they had a very good memory, so the purpose of the boards was really to create a state of awareness of what was available in terms of public footpaths in the surrounding area. Click here
to view the map.
Stage 2 was the concurrent reproduction of the map in folding paper form which was distributed throughout the two parishes and placed on sale in outlets in Hunsdon and Eastwick.
The parish council then decided to take the project to Stage 3 by publishing a booklet (see Footpaths page) containing a series of twelve set walks using the public rights of way within both Hunsdon and all the adjacent parishes whilst at the same time starting and finishing at Hunsdon Village Hall. This approach was adopted because as mentioned at the commencement of these notes many of the present definitive footpaths have evolved from routes in the past that connected the local communities and therefore give limited scope to create circular walks strictly within Hunsdon. The walks are of varying lengths to suit abilities of the walker and at the same time bring them back to their departure point, in this case Hunsdon Village Hall. Another of the benefits is that the walks are able to take advantage of many of the spectacular views across the boundaries in the other parishes as well as embracing many local points of interest which would not be available if the walks were confined purely to Hunsdon.