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Newsletter Autumn 2012


John Flower (14th Oct.1793 – 29th Nov.1861) was an English  and architectural artist known to locals as “the Leicester artist”. So reads the entry in Wikipedia ( From the Leicester Chronicle 11th August 1855 “Leicestershire Footpath Association – The committee of this society met on Tuesday evening at the Atheneum Rooms, in the Theatre, Hosefair Street, Mr J. Flower in the chair.” We are most grateful to Steve H for making contact with us after he discovered footpath connections with John Flower while researching the life of the artist. There had been suggestions that the Leicestershire Footpath Association had an earlier life before 1887 but until recently the evidence had been over looked or remained hidden. Harry Peach in his address to the Countryside and Footpaths Preservation National Conference of 1928 refers to a conversation with Mr W.Green who recalled “….I well recollect that the first committee in Leicester consisted of Thomas Podd, James Thompson sen. (Leicester Chronicle) and my father Henry Green.” This suggested that reports of the early campaigns would have been published in the Chronicle but I never made the time to investigate. Steve has done much of the work for us and we can now offer the following quote and make a valid claim to be the oldest surviving footpath preservation organisation.

Leicester Chronicle 20th July 1867

Mr Jas. Thompson…….explained that Mr Podd (who had been really the Footpath Association since the decease of Mr Flower)…..If he were able to give a history of the proceedings of the Society since its establishment in 1850, they would be astonished at the extent of the Society’s labours, and at its great usefulness in protecting the ancient foot-paths of the people.”

“Mr Thompson concluded by expressing a hope that the effort to re-organise and re-invigorate the Society would be successful” It was not until 1887 that the Leicestershire Footpath Association managed to become firmly established but the name and aims of the group remains unchanged from those early campaigns to the present day. So this year instead of celebrating our 125th anniversary it should have been 162, shame we missed the 150th.

Fly the flag with LFA Polo and Sweatshirts

No worries about what to wear on a walk, get your LFA logo clothing now. Contact Chris H. A few items still available.

Advert for post of LFA Treasurer from February 2013

Tuesday Short Walks

We have offered alternative short walks on a Tuesday concurrent with the advertised 5-6 mile walk most weeks since the AGM. We have walked several village trails, nature reserves, 2-3 mile walks in Bradgate Park, round Thornton Reservoir and by the side of streams and canals. In short anywhere that those who for what ever reason need an easier shorter walk taken at a slower, more leisurely pace. They have proved very popular and it is good to have some people walking again who had stopped coming prior to the ‘short walks’. We get between 3 and 7 people but are happy to have more! Contact Val W if you are interested in joining us.

Skittles social evening

Tickets £7.00 from walk leaders

North West Leicestershire is renowned for its labyrinth of paths, in some fields there are so many paths it’s difficult to differentiate between them. For today’s recreational use it’s difficult to object to diversion proposals, or justify why all these came into existence but they are there and at some time in the past someone did champion each path.

It’s so easy to change the routes for the needs of today but these constant tweaks are destroying the historical significance of the paths. I see footpaths as a part of our heritage like old buildings so I was delighted to find the following on the Governments Planning Portal which I believe should be adopted to protect parts of our path network.

“Why are buildings listed? Buildings are listed to help protect the physical evidence of our past, including buildings, which are valued and protected as a central part of our cultural heritage and our sense of identity. Historic buildings also add to the quality of our lives, being an important aspect of the character and appearance of our towns, villages and countryside.”

Leicestershire Lowland Search & Rescue Team (LEICSAR) are a newly formed charity run team of volunteers who assist the local Emergency Services, undertaking in the search, rescue and retrieval of missing, injured or deceased persons.

Leicestershire Search & Rescue

Our main purpose is to assist in the search for vulnerable missing persons in urban, rural and lowland areas, this includes children, The elderly or those who are suffering from an Illness be it physically or mentally.

On occasions we are utilised to search for injured persons, as a result of this all of our volunteers are fully equipped and trained in First Aid, with at least one trained Trauma Medic per search team.

As a voluntary run scheme we rely heavily on the support of the local community and businesses to offer donations and sponsorship to ensure that we can deliver this vital service.

If you can help email: or visit their website for more information:

LFA Website With increased postal costs we need to consider moving in the direction of electronic mail so we need to make better use of our website. That means making it more inviting for members and potential members to use. Please help to keep the website topical by submitting news, events and pictures for publication.

Web site address –

Web master: Email –

Why do we go walking? My primary motivation is exploration. Walking gets me to places I can’t access by any other means, to the top of England’s highest peaks, to view our best waterfalls and occasionally to walk across the lawns of stately homes. In days gone by getting to the start of a walk or other journey could have the added pleasure of a steady trundle through the landscape by train but today they travel too fast for sight seeing. The responsibility of driving a car on today’s busy roads makes it foolhardy to attempt taking our eyes off the road for even the briefest of moments when the passenger spots something of interest. It may be an age thing but I suspect most LFA members are eligible to go walking from the bus stop. Travel by bus, especially if it’s a double decker offers better views and leaves the driver to worry about the traffic. In addition it provides opportunities to make linear walks. On Saturday last I enjoyed a 12 mile walk from Market Bosworth having arrived from home via Melton, Loughborough and Coalville, returning via Hinckley and Leicester. All recent Peak District visits have been by way of the excellent Transpeak service direct from Nottingham. Give it a try all the information you need is at Traveline

Possible end of public access to grant-aided permissive paths.

Grant-aided walking and riding routes may be withdrawn as Government funding for them comes to an end. The Leicestershire Access Forum is urging people to enjoy these opportunities while they can and encouraging parish councils to take an active interest in their future. There are over 65 of these time-limited extra paths or access areas in the county. Full details at:

Landowners have created these permissive routes in exchange for public money. On-going funding for access schemes has now ended. Some sites have already expired but others will last at various dates up until 2020. Some are widely publicised but others are little known. The Access Forum is suggesting that, where landowners have permissive access schemes which are due to end, local Parish Councils might talk with them about on-going informal access or even possibly enter into a permissive path agreement.

Paths for Communities’ (P4C)

Defra have asked Natural England to develop and run a new grant scheme called ‘Paths for Communities’ (P4C). With funding from the Rural Development Programme, the aim of the Scheme will be to encourage and enable local communities to work with land owners to develop and enhance local public paths in ways that deliver wider benefit. It should offer a network with more appeal to visitors and tourists, contributing to the rural economy through better support for local services such as shops, pubs, hotels, bed and breakfasts, equestrian and cycle businesses.

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