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Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and West Middlesex Area

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Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and West Middlesex Area

Great news for walkers as Ramblers appoints Kate Ashbrook as chair of the board


Countryside campaigner Kate Ashbrook, who lives in Turville in the Bucks Chilterns, has been announced as the Ramblers’ new chair of the board of trustees for Great Britain. 


Kate, known for her work at the Open Spaces Society and her tireless campaigning, will be leading the Ramblers in their work to help everyone, everywhere, enjoy walking and protect the places we all love to walk.  Kate, who was born and brought up in Denham Village, is footpath secretary of the Ramblers in Buckinghamshire.


Commenting on her election as chair, Kate said: “I am delighted and honoured to be chair of the Ramblers at this important moment in our long history. We are incredibly fortunate to have an enthusiastic and highly skilled group of staff and volunteers, working for us throughout England, Scotland and Wales. 


“We shall champion the rights of walkers throughout the three nations, and ensure that better public access is part of the post-Brexit deal for agriculture. I look forward to leading the Ramblers on the path ahead.”


Kate, who has been a trustee of Britain’s walking charity for 30 years, was elected chair at the Ramblers annual general meeting in Bangor last month. 


Vanessa Griffiths, chief executive of the Ramblers said, said “We are delighted that Kate has been elected as chair of the board of trustees. This is an exciting time for the Ramblers, as we are seeing a huge demand for our work and we’re looking forward to working with Kate as our chair to help everyone to enjoy the outdoors on foot.”

   kate ashbrook    




Path Volunteers Celebrate Their One Hundredth Gate

North Bucks rRIPPLE (ramblers Repairing and Improving Public Paths for Leisure and Exercise), the small group of six retired people who work on the ground to make public paths more accessible, celebrated the installation of their 100th and 101st gates in Whitchurch on 7 February.

The team, under the aegis of the Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and West Middlesex Ramblers(1), was founded in early 2015 and works closely with Bucks County Council rights-of-way department, landowners and villagers.  It is removing obstacles, such as dilapidated stiles, from the public-path network at the rate of around one per week.  It installs self-closing, self-latching, galvanised steel gates which are friendly to farmers’ stock and make life much easier for the ever-increasing number of more elderly and less-able walkers who wish to venture a bit further afield.

The 100th gate was sponsored by Aylesbury Ramblers through the group’s Donate a Gate (DaG) scheme, whereby a person or occasion can be marked by a plaque on the gate.  The gate is just to the south of Oving Road on the west side of Whitchurch (grid reference SP 795 209).


1 stile which was replaced 2 new kissing-gate

The original stile which was replaced.

The 100th gate. L-R: Derek Holland, Bill Piers, Keith Wheeler-Cherry (all of North Bucks rRipple) and Jon Clark (Bucks County Council strategic access officer). 

Photo by Peter Smith of North Bucks rRIPPLE.

Says the team leader, Bill Piers from Haddenham: ‘This scheme has proved immensely popular.  Passing walkers frequently ask our working party for a DaG application form.

‘The work is onerous and requires some skill, but I am willing to train any volunteers.  It’s fun and sociable too—and we generally finish the day in the pub.’

Adds Kate Ashbrook, Area footpath secretary for the Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and West Middlesex Ramblers: ‘The work by rRIPPLE is extremely impressive and to a high standard.  In these days of austerity, it is wonderful that volunteers are willing to help the county council to get work done on our rights of way.  Public paths are enormously important for our health and wellbeing and there is no better way to explore the countryside.’

Further information of North Bucks rRIPPLE can be found here.


Ramblers Honour Bucks Paths Champion With Commemorative Gate

Bucks Ramblers has honoured the work of Mike Walker, former Environment Group Manager for Buckinghamshire County Council, with a commemorative gate on a footpath at Great Missenden, Bucks. 

Mike, who retired in 2015, managed Buckinghamshire’s network of public rights of way for 30 years.  The Ramblers has celebrated Mike’s work with a gate under the Chiltern Society’s ‘donate a gate’ scheme, on Great Missenden footpath 51 on the north-eastern edge of Hobbshill Wood.  The inscription on the gate is:

Mike Walker, path champion

Thanks from Buckinghamshire Ramblers

Mike Walker


Mike Walker

Says Kate Ashbrook, footpath secretary for the Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and West Middlesex Area of the Ramblers: ‘Mike has worked tirelessly for Bucks County Council for over 30 years and he made massive improvements.  Under his leadership the county’s paths were transformed—in the past walking in the less-trodden north Bucks was like negotiating an assault course, now the paths are in far better condition. 

kate mike paul john

Kate Ashbook, Mike Walker, Paul Rhodes and John Esselmont

‘It is sad for all of us that Mike has retired from the council but we are pleased he is still involved on national committees, promoting public paths and their value to the public.  We all have much to thank him for, in making conditions for walkers, riders and cyclists in Bucks so much better.’

Says Mike Walker: ‘I am truly honoured that the Ramblers and Chiltern Society, who do such great work to encourage and protect access to the countryside, wish to commemorate my achievements and those of the county council’s rights-of-way staff.  I am particularly pleased that the council’s relations and co-operation with path users and volunteers have improved tremendously over the years.  If I have helped to achieve that then I hope I have done a good job.’


The Ramblers

The Ramblers is Britain's walking charity, working to safeguard the footpaths, the countryside and other places we go walking, and to encourage more people to take up walking. With 108,000 members in England, Scotland and Wales, we've been working for walkers for 76 years.

Our Area

The Area supports the activities of ten groups, listed on the left hand side or this page, operating in Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Harrow, Brent, Ealing and Hounslow. Each group offers a full programme of walks and other activities.

The Area monitors developments affecting the enjoyment of walking within our territory. In particular we monitor the state of our paths and seek to get any problems put right. Southern Buckinghamshire includes a major part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while the northern part of the county and, indeed, our London Boroughs and Milton Keynes also include attractive countryside, making our Area a great one for walking.

We also do what we can to fight, or seek to reduce the impact on walkers, of developments which would lessen enjoyment of our countryside, not least of which at present is the proposed London to Birmingham high speed rail line which will cut right through our territory.

Ramblers is run by volunteers at local level and offers to help with our work, particularly in monitoring the footpaths but also in other ways, is always welcome.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

New to the Ramblers?

You'll get a warm welcome at each of the local groups. Just have a look at the list of upcoming walks in the area. Once you have walked two or three times with any of the groups, you will be expected to join the Ramblers.