Footpath Group

If you know of footpaths that need brambles cutting back, encroaching grass and weeds clearing, or hedges that are making a path difficult to use, let us know.

We’re always pleased to take on new volunteers, so if you’d like to contribute to footpath maintenance, contact the Parish Office on 01453 887204. The tasks vary from gentle to demanding and volunteers can come as often or seldom as they wish. We’ve settled into two hour sessions on Thursday mornings. 

Walking is an environmentally-friendly part of healthy living and keeping fit for everyone. To help achieve this the Footpath Group has these aims and objectives:


The aim of the Footpath Group is to make recommendations to the Parish Council Works Committee so as: 
  • To help ensure the short and long-term viability of Parish footpaths
  • To maintain and develop Parish footpaths for access, recreation, enjoyment and healthy activity for all ages and abilities.


The aim will be delivered by:
  1. Making recommendations and suggestions for action to relevant organisations and interest groups such as the Parish Council Works Committee, Gloucestershire County Council Public Rights of Way Inspections Officer, The Cotswolds AONB and users
  2. Obtaining additional resources of money, labour and/or materials
  3. Recruiting and supporting Footpath Volunteers to carry out practical footpath improvement work
  4. Raising the profile of Parish footpaths amongst the community
  5. Encouraging more people to use and enjoy Parish footpaths 

Footpaths in the Parish

Footpaths are one of the features of Chalford Parish that make it what it is. It’s not just the sheer number and length (28km) of paths but also their variety. The narrow hillside paths on Rack Hill provide spectacular views as well as access to homes. There are peaceful walks through the countryside along Toadsmoor Valley and through Dimmel’s Dale, part of which is a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve. At the eastern edge of the Parish there are paths through Woodlands Trust owned Oldhills Wood. The canal towpath can be followed along the south of the Parish, with boards erected by the Cotswolds Canals Trust by the canal at the Round House (across A419 London Road from Christ Church) providing interesting information about the canal and the history of Chalford.

Footpath Volunteers

Footpath Volunteers carry out the practical work on footpaths across the Parish. At present around ten volunteers work each Thursday morning from 10.00 am to 12 noon (and sometimes later!) on tasks such as clearing vegetation and improving the surface of muddy path sections.

New volunteers are always welcome – contact the Parish Office if you’re interested in joining us. Flapjacks are provided!

Volunteers rake a footpath


Volunteers repair France Lynch bridges

Over a couple of weeks, our footpath volunteers repaired two rotted wooden bridges on a public right of way in France Lynch. They also made them safer by putting chicken wire on to stop them being slippery when wet.


Broken France Lynch Bridge

Bridge Half Buried under foliage

New Repaired Bridge

Volunteer standing on the newly repaired bridge

What has been achieved?

The Parish has been fortunate in receiving funding from a number of sources. The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust provided a grant which enabled us to replace stiles with five easy access gates in Old Bussage. Stroud Rambling Club purchased a kissing gate and a pedestrian gate in memory of a long standing club member. Volunteers installed these in Dimmel’s Dale under the guidance of Cotswold Wardens. The Woodland Trust provided stone to improve a muddy section of footpath in Oldhills Wood, plus the hire of a dumpster to carry the stone up from the valley bottom. Gloucestershire County Council have supported some of our other tasks with finance and guidance. 

Much volunteer time has been spent on improving muddy paths across the Parish. This has involved clearing the mud and replacing it with coarse type 1 stone and, on ‘village’ paths, putting a layer of ‘dust’ on top to give a people and dog friendly surface. We know from comments we’ve had that this is appreciated.

Finally, the Footpath Group carried out a survey of Public Right of Way (PROW) signs on Parish paths. As a result a number of previously missing signs have been installed by Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), with more to come.


Report a footpath problem

GCC is formally responsible for maintaining footpaths in the Parish. However, lack of funding means only essential safety work will be done, so if you know of vegetation that needs cutting back, or muddy paths that need the surface improving, please contact the Parish Office, and we’ll see what we can do.

Kissing gate

Public Rights of way path with sign 

Parish footpaths past and present article (PDF) written by Peter Ashcroft, Footpath Volunteer