Did you know that we have 11.5 miles of footpaths and bridleways within the Parish of Pen Selwood, plus of course the many miles of permissive paths on land owned by the Hoare family and Sir Cameron Mackintosh ? If you look on the Pen Selwood web site you will find suggested walks with a clear map which you can print, the mileage of each walk is also shown. Local social walks are now being organised in and around the village, look out for the posters if you would like to join us.
Most people in the village enjoy these facilities and use them well, but concerns were raised by some people when we were developing the Community Plan and this article aims to set out the responsibilities of walkers, riders and landowners and to explain how the voluntary footpath group operates.
Landowners are responsible for the following:
- Installing and maintaining gates and stiles with support In some instances financial help is available from Somerset County Council
- Cutting back overhanging vegetation on hedges and at boundaries.
- Keeping footpaths free of blockages such as collapsed fences and fallen trees.
- Maintaining clear signage which does not deter access.
- Restoring ploughed footpaths and bridleways.
Walkers and riders should
- respect the work of farmers,
- ensure that gates are kept closed to avoid the loss of or accidents to livestock
- pick up litter.
- Report any problems they encounter either using the interactive map found on the Pen Selwood web site or www.somerset.gov.uk/rightsofway or contacting Hester Messom.
- Dogs should be kept under close control in the countryside and on a lead in a fields where there is livestock.
- Riding with loose dogs at heel on the roads is in contravention of the Highway Code and is not welcomed by landowners, as it is impossible to guarantee the dog’s behaviour.
- Dogs should be kept a good distance from livestock. Cows can be inquisitive and suspicious of dogs especially when they have their calves with them. If cows do start acting aggressively, the dog should be allowed to go free to safety and the owners leave the field as quickly as possible.
- A lot of horses are kept in the village. They can also be suspicious of dogs and the same rules apply as for cows.
- Dog owners should not allow their dogs to foul the highway, the verges in front of people’s houses or fields where animals graze or crops are being grown. Dog faeces can transmit diseases to children and to livestock and are unpleasant for others to clear up. Please always clear up after your dog.
The Footpath Group
This is a group of volunteers who will help maintain footpaths within the Parish by trimming back hedges and overgrown areas using light hand tools such as secateurs and loppers and by reporting problems to the Rights of Way Officer. They are coordinated by Hester Messom and Richard Gething. New volunteers are welcome.