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About Capel Path Rangers

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About Capel Path Rangers

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Membership of Capel Path Rangers is free and there are three ways to participate. As a walker you can join in with any of our guided walks. New for 2010, you can join our "Hit Squad"; this involves spending a couple of hours in a group on a summers evening, clearing specific areas of overgrown paths, followed by some well earned refreshments in a local pub (meeting times and dates are published on the website events page). If you would like to contribute even more actively, additionally you can become a committee member.

The committee is unelected because, at present, anyone who wants to take an active role in the activities of the Capel Path Rangers group is welcome to join the committee.

The committee aims to meet six times a year to agree our programme of events and activities, to discuss specific footpath issues and to make the Parish Plan recommendations relating to footpaths happen. We carry out vegetation clearance in the summer, dealing with paths where there is a reported problem as well as taking action at known vegetation "hot-spots". We have carried out surveys of the 51 public rights of way in the Parish and during 2009 we focussed on improving the waymarking in our "patch". In 2010, we will be validating the survey findings to compile a workbank of proposed actions by Kent County Council Public Rights of Way to bring our paths up to scratch. We conduct guided walks throughout the year and, new for 2010, we are introducing a theme for each walk. Our mid-summer walk includes a family picnic beside the Medway river, just outside of Capel Parish but a wonderful tranquil area with abundant flora and fauna.

We also carry out two litter picks each year, the summer one timed to assist the Village in Bloom committee in getting Five Oak Green spruced up ready for the judges. Safety during these events is important. We carry out risk assessments and safety briefings to comply with legislation; personal protective equipment and insurance cover is provided through Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

Our principal Spring event is the annual Capel Bluebell Walk in April. We have wonderful woodlands in the Parish and each year we are treated to a fantastic carpet of blue along the footpaths through the woods. We have been well supported for this event in recent years although with the cold winter of 2009, the bluebells may be in short supply in 2010!

We strive to produce an article for the Capel Parish News magazine each month. This gives topical information relating to footpaths and details of our activities and events to which all are invited.

Each year, KCC Public Rights of Way people invite us to their volunteers training day: this gives the opportunity to learn about legislative aspects of footpaths and the people who use them as well as learning practical skills about maintenance of kissing gates for instance. In 2009, KCC PRoW introduced the role of Countryside Access Warden (CAW). You can volunteer to become one and KCC will provide free training. Affiliation to a recognized group like Capel Path Rangers is helpful. We have two members who are now certified Countryside Access Wardens and hopefully more will become trained in the coming months.

We need the co-operation of the landowners across whose land the paths go. They have a legal duty not to block the paths and to ensure that stiles, bridges and fencing are maintained; but it is a two-way street, people who use the paths should respect the countryside, ensuring that litter is taken home, gates are closed after use, livestock are not agitated and crops are not damaged outside the immediate line of the path. Further information on walkers rights and responsibilities can be found on The Ramblers Website

You are very welcome to join us at any level of involvement; see you soon I hope.

For more information please e-mail the chairman..

Historical Note

We became a recognized group as a result of the publication of the Capel Parish Plan in April 2006. This document contained 62 recommendations to the Capel Parish Council which, if implemented, would create a better environment for the community in and around the parish. Eight of the recommendations related to footpaths and public rights of way. The most important of these was the instigation of a Path Ranger scheme. When the Parish Plan was distributed, a volunteering form was included. This resulted in 14 people putting themselves forward as candidates for the Path Rangers group. We held an inaugural meeting in June 2006 and so the Capel Path Rangers group was started.

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