Environmental volunteers achieved so much over 22 years

(From L-R) Alec Green, Pat Dickins, Les Bullan and Laurie Laughton of the West Craven Environment Group which is disbanding after 20 years. (S)

(From L-R) Alec Green, Pat Dickins, Les Bullan and Laurie Laughton of the West Craven Environment Group which is disbanding after 20 years. (S)

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I am writing to thank past and present volunteers of the recently disbanded West Craven Environment Group for their achievements over more than 22 years.

I recently discovered a cutting from a 1992 edition of this newspaper, which was around the time the group was formed.

Through the newspaper my predecessor, then newly appointed, had made an appeal for volunteers to help her with resolving some of the problems which affected Pendle’s public rights of way. The volunteers in the group provided exactly the practical help the council needed.

They went out of their way to find all the problems in West Craven and then set about a programme of work to make the necessary repairs.

Since it started, the group has made a huge impact in dealing with a lack of way marking, repairing poor stiles and clearing overgrowth, among other issues which had beset the local rights of way network.

In the early days they tackled these issues with very little help from the council, and later with the support of the council’s Countryside Ranger.

I was fortunate enough to be involved in one of the first projects carried out by the group when I was asked to provide practical skills training in my previous job with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.

It is remarkable the group passed its 20th anniversary with the same practical focus on resolving rights of way issues as when it first started.

It is largely because of the group’s past achievements there have been occasions when we couldn’t find a stile or gate in the West Craven area in need of repair, and they have tackled similar issues in other parts of Pendle.

I have no doubt the many walkers who have seen the group’s badge on a stile or a gate would share with me in thanking the group for their efforts.

They have shown what can be achieved by a small, well organised group of volunteers.

Tom Partridge

Countryside Access Officer, Pendle Council