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Worcester Ramblers Logo Improved Communication
 

It has been suggested that members would appreciate more regular and detailed information regarding the activities of the committee and the actions that are being considered and taken within the overall framework of our 2015 Group Focus Areas.

Consequently it has been agreed that in future, the following information will be published on our website:

  • committee meeting dates
  • the agenda for each forthcoming committee meeting
  • signed off minutes from each committee meeting
  • the summary financial report produced for each meeting

Suggestions and feedback into the committee from the membership have always been welcomed and members are invited to contribute agenda items or feedback (with background rationale to aid understanding) for any meeting.

Any such input should be sent to Sue Rose, our Group Secretary, via the ‘Contact Us’ page on our website. Sue is responsible for assembling the agenda for each meeting.

Specific individual queries or clarifications can be dealt with by contacting the appropriate Group officer rather than waiting for a committee meeting to take place.

The next scheduled committee meeting is Wednesday 2nd September 2015.
 
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Worcester Ramblers Logo A few words from Janey's Elan Valley notes
Elan Valley Weekend

Friday 10th July

After working Friday morning I arrive in Kington around 15.00 hours and bump into the Worcester ramblers in Kington Museum. They have enjoyed a hot walk with good views. The museum is small and well worth a visit. The exhibits are displayed with care and pride and very informative. The elephants too is huge......

To read more of Janey's notes click the photograph.
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Worcester Ramblers Logo Historical gems around Wick 

On Tuesday 21st July Kath led an evening walk aorund the lovely hamlet of Wick, near Pershore.
The route was full of historical interest as well as many magical views of the confetti fields.

Sandie has sent a leaflet describing some of the buildings and their history including Pershore Bridges, RAF Comberton (GCI Radar Station at Wick), Vandyke Court and the much discussed Wick Manor House.

Click on the photograph of the cruck framed cottage that is possibly of medieval date to reveal more.

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Worcester Ramblers Logo  

Are you a budding botanist?

Common heather 

Do you like identifying flora and fauna on your walks?

Do you have a smartphone?

If the answer is YES…..

 …..then here’s an app that you might find useful.

Click here to find out

 
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Worcester Ramblers Logo Worcester Show - Sunday 16th August
Volunteers Required
The Worcester Show is now a well recognised and large event in the City of Worcester calendar with the tenth event to be held at Gheluvelt Riverside Park on Sunday August 16th.
With over 120 classes ranging from flowers and floral decorations to handicrafts and photography, there is something for everyone. It is a fantastic fun day out for the whole family.  As well as showcasing the amazing creativity of Worcester residents, there is music, dancing, cookery demonstrations, children's rides, crafts stalls and delicious food for all to enjoy.

For the second year running, Worcester Ramblers is jointly hosting a recruitment stand at the show with the ‘Walking for Health’ organisation in support of our efforts to attract new members.
Last year’s show was as popular as ever with attendance in excess of 6,000 visitors.
The show runs from 10.00 until 17.00 and volunteering involves talking to visitors who might be interested in joining a walking group. Basically judging their capabilities between us and the 'Walking for Health' programme and if relevant to us, explaining what our Group does and trying to persuade them to test us out by joining one of our walks. 


We will have a stall with various leaflets and promotional materials to hand out plus our own near term walks programme schedule.
Cliff D. and Jane V. have kindly agreed to set up and manage the stand and would greatly appreciate volunteers who would be prepared to spend an hour or two helping them out and giving them a bit of a break.

Are you willing to contribute an hour or two of your time to support this important activity on Sunday August 16th? 
If so, please contact Cliff D. (Chairman) via the ‘Contact Us’ page on our website.

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The Wyche Way

A new long distance footpath  opening  September 2015
The Wyche Way
The Wyche Way is a new long distance path that links two national trails – The Offa’s Dyke Path and The Cotswold Way. It will open in September 2015.
The 80 mile trail commences from Kington in Herefordshire, crosses Worcestershire, over the Malvern Hills, to meet The Cotswold Way at Broadway Tower.
The name is best known from an old ‘Saltway’ crossing of the Malvern Hills known as The Wyche Cutting, but there is also the connotation of Which Way (to go) and there is also an outlying area in Kington with Wych connections.
The trail is the brainchild of Guy Vowles - guyvowles@talktalk.net -who has been greatly assisted by Jim Mason, who is a councillor in Winchcombe and much involved in the Walkers are Welcome initiative (WAW).

Coincidently Kington is also a WAW town and will now have seven long distance trails passing through this small but atmospheric town.
There will be an official opening of the trail on Friday 18th September as part of the Kington Walking Festival. Please contact Guy if you would like to attend or find out more.
More details of the trail are available at www.guysrambles.co.uk. An affordable guide book of The Wyche Way will be on sale on the same site from September 2015. Please let Guy know if you would like to pre-order.
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Worcester Ramblers Logo Footpath Problem Reporting
Footpath / Bridleway Problem Reporting


Some of you may have noticed during the redesign of our website Home page that an additional heading appeared within the footer section at the bottom entitled ‘Footpath Problems’. Underneath this heading are two sub-headings, namely ‘Worcestershire’ and ‘Herefordshire’.

Clicking on either of these sub-headings takes the viewer to the official county council problem reporting websites where issues can be registered.

If walk leaders or indeed any member of our Group encounters a problem during a recce or walk, we ask that they log this issue on the relevant website. Click on the ‘Report a defect’ tab and complete the information requested.
The system will come up with a map and ask you to pinpoint the exact location on it so please bear this in mind at the time that the problem is encountered. For example, noting an O/S grid reference identifying the precise location of the defect could be really useful for reference purposes.

A clear and concise description of the problem(s) is also of course important.
As well as filling in the website information required, it would also be helpful to email Pete Murphy (our Footpath Officer) via the ‘Contact Us’ page on our website to inform him that a new issue has been registered. Pete can then monitor progress and in some cases, especially if it affects a future planned Group walk, consider scheduling a fix of the problem as a working party assignment.

If you encounter any problems when using the county website problem reporting websites, please contact Pete who should be able to help you ’troubleshoot’ the difficulty.
Thank you in advance for your ongoing support of this request.
 
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Working Party Report
Monday 20th July 2015
Working Party Report.
Hanley Castle, 20th July 2015
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Monday morning saw Pete, Lin, Doug, Steve, Fil, Mick and Dave meet Nick and Gareth at Hanley Castle to install a bridge.

Thanks go to everyone involved. A good day's work.
Getting the site ready for the new bridge
Preparing the site
Preparing the beam for the bridge
Putting drill holes in the beam
Having fun while we workedFun while we work The finished bridge
Finished bridge, well done all
Interested in joining the Working Party
Contact Pete Murphy via the Contact Us page
     
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 Third Subsidised NNAS Bronze Training Course
For further information, including payment details:
Click on the image
 
Your committee is pleased to announce that a third subsidised NNAS bronze training course arranged exclusively for Worcester Group members has been scheduled.

24 members have already participated in this training with all 22 of those attending the practical assessment session passing successfully.
The third course will run over the three consecutive Sundays of September 20th, September 27th and October 4th.

It is suitable for walkers who wish to increase their map reading skills so as to be able to navigate more confidently. It includes compass and basic navigation techniques.

£20 per participant (up to a maximum of 12 participants) will pay for the entire course which is roughly half of the actual cost. The balance will be provided out of our Group’s surplus funds.
Successful participants will receive an NNAS certificate (a nationally recognized qualification).

When you pay, please email both Cliff Dimond (chairman) and Kath Palfrey (treasurer) via the ‘Contact Us’ page so that both have a record of who has committed and when.

Please Note: 
  1. The subsidised offer only applies to Worcester Group members
  2. In the event of over subscription, preference will be given to existing walk leaders or aspiring walk leaders who are willing to lead walks for our Group in the future
  3. Participant cost will be payable in advance and is non-refundable
  4. The entire offer may be withdrawn if insufficient members commit
  5. Subject to all the above, registration will be on a ‘first paid first served’ basis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
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Ten More NNAS Bronze Certificates Awarded
Map Reading Opportunity with Worcester Ramblers Ten More NNAS Bronze Certificates Awarded
All of the ten Worcester members who were recently assessed at the second NNAS bronze navigation course organised by our Group successfully completed their training.

Congratulations are due to Jane V, Sue R, Richard R, Michele M, Mandy H, Xiaoling, Sally M, Jenny T, Cliff S and Cliff D for maintaining the 100% pass rate to date.

Enormous thanks are owed to Derek Jones who ran the course and to Liz from the Wyre Forest Group plus our very own Doug F who gave their time as ‘glamorous’ assistants to support Derek.

The course is intended for walkers who wish to increase their map reading skills so as to be able to navigate more confidently. It was run over three consecutive Sundays and involved a combination of classroom teaching and outdoor coaching, ending with a detailed field assessment.

Content focused on the DDT mantra – distance, direction and tick off points and included basic navigation and compass techniques.
Although there was a good deal of information to absorb and apply, the combination of theoretical and practical elements kept participants engaged, motivated and entertained.

Word continues to spread within the Group supporting the achievability and usefulness of the course and a number of additional members have expressed interest in attending a third event if one is organised.
Although there are no current plans to do this, please contact Cliff Dimond (chairman) via the ‘Contact Us’ page on our website if you would also be interested and we will use this input to assess demand.
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Worcester Ramblers Logo  Walk Grading Guidance
  Easy? Leisurely? Moderate? Strenuous?

The committee has been asked to offer some guidance to help walk leaders grade their walks consistently and to assist potential participants in deciding whether a particular walk is suitable for their abilities.
This is extremely helpful for new members.


Clicking on the image will bring up this guidance which has now also been added to the 'Submit a Walk' section within the 'Useful Guides' sub-section.

Walk leaders are encouraged to adopt this guidance in future when posting their walk descriptions on our walks programme.
 
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Worcester Ramblers Logo Walks Registration Forms
 
Walk Registration Forms
Those of our members who walk with us regularly will know that at the beginning of each walk, the leader asks each participant to complete an entry line on one of the walk registration forms. These come as two variants - the first for Worcester Group members and the second for visitors.
 
It may sometimes seem tedious to provide this information and recently it has become apparent that the level of legibility and extent of completion has deteriorated somewhat.
 
It seems appropriate therefore to remind members why our Group collects this information:
 
1. The leader and back marker need to know how many and who are on the walk in the event of people
    getting separated from the main group.
2. The recent incident involving Mavis has reinforced the need to be able to provide clear witness and 
    victim contact number details for emergency service and insurance company purposes.
    The contact number should be a personal mobile or land line number although a mobile number if also 
    carried on the walk could be especially useful in the event of separation.
3. In the event of a third party insurance claim, it is important to have advance evidence that an  individual was an official participant on a walk.
4. The membership number is used to cross reference the name and to identify if any individuals are 
    abusing our ‘three walks for free’ policy e.g. by continuing to walk with us when their membership has
    lapsed or by pretending to be a member in the first place. These have happened in the past!
5. The overall data is collected and used to monitor the ‘health’ of our Group over time and this in turn
    informs our focus and decision making.
 
Could we all please take care to complete the entry line clearly and fully and remind walk leaders to take the registration forms with them on the walk rather than leaving them in their car.
 
Incident Forms
 
Fortunately incidents serious enough to be reported are uncommon, but - see 2. above - if such an incident should occur it is pertinent that walk leaders have an understanding of the required information and preferably have a copy of the incident form to which they can refer. This form can be found via the useful links on Submit a Walk/Walk Leaders Checklist on the Volunteer pages of the Ramblers Association website in Volunteer Zone user guide.
 
     
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 Worcester Ramblers
Focus for 2015
Worcester Ramblers Chairman Cliff Dimond

2015 Group Focus Areas
 
At our recent committee meeting we discussed our focus areas for 2015 and took the following decisions:
 
1. Our original major categories of:
        > Increase the number of walk leaders
        > Footpath / bridleway improvement
        > Improve engagement of the wider membership
 
    would remain the key areas to concentrate on.
 
2. We should continue to do 'more of the same' in 2015 as we did in 2014 i.e. attempt to
    recruit around 50 new members over the year, most of whom should become 'active' 
    walkers. 
    A further step change in recruitment ambition was considered unrealistic with the
    Group likely to struggle to successfully absorb any such even higher increase.
 
Full details of items under consideration are contained within the three PDF files accessible by clicking on the individual icons shown. 
 
Please take this opportunity to scrutinise the thinking to date and to let us have any thoughts, comments or suggestions for improvement you might have. We will not have the resources to address all the suggestions so your input on prioritisation would be welcomed.
 
If you are interested in leading or supporting any of the individual initiatives, we would love to hear from you.
 
   Increase the number of walks leaders Improve engagement of wider membership Footpath & Bridleway Improvement 
 

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Worcester Ramblers Logo Books and Maps for Loan
by Worcester Ramblers Members
Books and maps for Worcester Ramblers to loan
Going on holiday and need a map?
Looking for a walk route?
Mandy has a selection of maps which she is happy to loan to members, to view the list click here.

Mo Blinkhorn has donated lots of walking books too, to view the titles click here. Contact Sandra to borrow these.

Mandy and Sandra are contactable via the Contact Us page
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
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 26th Annual General Meeting Minutes
Worcester Ramblers Chairman Cliff Dimond  The 26th Annual General Meeting of our Group was held on Friday evening, November 7th, with 31 members attending. The minutes of the meeting can be accessed by clicking here.

Any comments or feedback on these minutes can be communicated to our Chairman (Cliff Dimond) via the 'Contact Us' page of our website.
       

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 Worcester Group Health Check
May 2015
To see some of the detailed underlying data
Click on the image
In November 2013 your new committee started recording a selection of data that effectively monitors the health of our Group over time. Sandra Chapman has been capturing the base data in a spreadsheet since then and Cliff D. has been analysing it.
A first summary analysis was published on our website in May 2014 with a follow up in November. The data up to and including May 2015 has now been analysed and gives a year on year perspective for the first time, enabling seasonal factors to be taken into account.
Observations that could be made from the latest data include:
  1. The number of registered members has increased gradually to 450 in May 2015 although flat for the past four months and still well below the peak of 490 in February 2011.
  2. We continue to recruit new members at an average rate of 4 per month which is both consistent with the same period last year and our stated target of 50 this year. The steady stream of new recruits more than offsets those existing members not renewing.
  3. Importantly, the number of registered members who are ‘active’ walkers has risen again to 118 from 94 last May (an increase of 25%)  but still only represents about 26% of overall membership (118 out of 450)
  4. The number of different members walking in any given month has increased consistently and significantly during 2014/15 when compared with the same period in 2013/14
  5. Membership within the remainder of the Worcestershire Area (comprising Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest, Redditch and Evesham) has stabilised at a combined total of 601 in April 2015 compared with 720 in October 2012
  6. During the year to date, the Group has put on 97 walks compared with 86 during the same period  last year.
  7. The number of different walk leaders has increased to an average of 10.43 per month during 2014/15 from an average of 8.86 during the same period in 2013/14 (a 17% improvement)
  8. During 2014/15 there has been an average of 19.6 participants per walk compared with 17.6 when compared with the same period in 2013/14 (an 11% increase)
  9. There was a significant increase in visitors during December 2014 and January 2015, presumably as a consequence of our Winter Walks programme
  10. The number of working party assignments completed increased from 4 in the first seven months of 2013/14 to 9 during the same period this year
Another detailed analysis will be published in and around November 2015 but if you have any observations or questions about this information please feel free to bring them up with Cliff.
       
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News from Ordnance Survey
Feature photography New OS maps
In the coming months, the Ordnance Survey (OS) is to replace all 607 of its paper maps with new versions that include a mobile download that will record the user's route.

The covers of the new range of maps, called OS Explorer Outdoor Leisure, feature photographs of the area taken by members of the public who submitted their pictures as part of the OS Photofit competition.
The competition received more that 10,000 entries and the chosen pictures will start to appear on the maps in early June.

Nick Giles, managing director of Ordnance Survey Leisure said: "The OS Photofit competition has exceeded expectations. We had way more entries than we anticipated and the overall standard was very impressive.
"There are a lot of talented amateur photographers out there. It proved very difficult for us to choose the winning images for our covers, but we did and we think they add to OS's tradition of producing highly detailed accurate maps that also look like works of art."

Last year, it was reported that sales of OS paper maps had increased for the first time in a decade.

The OS Photofit competition is still open for OS Landranger series and closes on 31st October

Click here to see the Full OS article.
Click here to see more of the featured photography
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Worcester Ramblers Logo
Our Volunteers: Our Heartbeat
By Kate Ashbrook, President of The Ramblers

Volunteers: the heartbeat of The Ramblers

Through their time and energy, our volunteers are worth many millions of pounds to the Ramblers, and to our cause, each year.  Our volunteers are our heartbeat, pumping away tirelessly for walkers for the past 80 years.  They should be proud of the difference they have made for walkers in Britain.

Thanks to the pressure and campaigning from Ramblers’ volunteers and others, we won the law which created definitive maps—the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. 

To read more of Kate Ashbrook's report click here
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Worcester Ramblers Logo
Worcester Group Health Check 
May 2015
To see some of the detailed underlying data
Click on the image

 
In November 2013 your new committee started recording a selection of data that effectively monitors the health of our Group over time. Sandra Chapman has been capturing the base data in a spreadsheet since then and Cliff D. has been analysing it.
A first summary analysis was published on our website in May 2014 with a follow up in November. The data up to and including May 2015 has now been analysed and gives a year on year perspective for the first time, enabling seasonal factors to be taken into account.
Observations that could be made from the latest data include:
  1. The number of registered members has increased gradually to 450 in May 2015 although flat for the past four months and still well below the peak of 490 in February 2011. 
  2. We continue to recruit new members at an average rate of 4 per month which is both consistent with the same period last year and our stated target of 50 this year. The steady stream of new recruits more than offsets those existing members not renewing.
  3. Importantly, the number of registered members who are ‘active’ walkers has risen again to 118 from 94 last May (an increase of 25%)  but still only represents about 26% of overall membership (118 out of 450)
  4. The number of different members walking in any given month has increased consistently and significantly during 2014/15 when compared with the same period in 2013/14
  5. Membership within the remainder of the Worcestershire Area (comprising Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest, Redditch and Evesham) has stabilised at a combined total of 601 in April 2015 compared with 720 in October 2012 
  6. During the year to date, the Group has put on 97 walks compared with 86 during the same period  last year.
  7. The number of different walk leaders has increased to an average of 10.43 per month during 2014/15 from an average of 8.86 during the same period in 2013/14 (a 17% improvement)
  8. During 2014/15 there has been an average of 19.6 participants per walk compared with 17.6 when compared with the same period in 2013/14 (an 11% increase)
  9. There was a significant increase in visitors during December 2014 and January 2015, presumably as a consequence of our Winter Walks programme
  10. The number of working party assignments completed increased from 4 in the first seven months of 2013/14 to 9 during the same period this year.
    Another detailed analysis will be published in and around November 2015 but if you have any observations or questions about this information please feel free to bring them up with Cliff.
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