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About Us

The West Essex Group of the RA was founded in 1970, a result of the efforts of Fred Matthews who, having moved to Abridge from Surrey, was appalled by the unwalkable state of most of the paths in the West Essex area.

West Essex Ramblers

Over 40 Years Old

Today our Membership stands at just below 800 and we provide four led walks per week, two at weekends and two mid-week. Two of these walks are half-day (4 or 5 miles) and two all-day (8 to 14 miles, 10 miles the norm). The typical attendance of a walk is 20 members and we usually have a lunchtime pub stop of 45 minutes, plus short morning and afternoon breaks for tea or coffee.

Epping to The Moletrap

From April to October we have monthly weekend coach outings to walk Long Distance Paths in 11 mile stages, eg, South Downs Way, Ridgeway and Thames Path. We also have monthly mid-week coach outings to walk in such places as the Constable Country, Beachy Head and the North Downs. We also visit places such as Stowe House and Sissinghurst Castle. Our ordinary walks take us to many interesting places, in particular our London and City Walks.

Finchley to Hyde Park .... London Walk

An interesting social programme includes Foreign and English walking holidays, weekends away, Jazz evenings, Barn dances, and Quiz evenings.

Jazz Night ... & ... Quiz Night

A major part of our work is to protect and obtain improvements to our footpaths and rights of way. To this end we have volunteer Adopters for each parish in the West Essex Area. He or she monitors the footpaths in their parish then reports problems to the footpath secretary or the leader of our working party who, in most cases, will liaise with the relevant County Council Prow to instigate a programme for the working party. Farmers ploughing up but not restoring cross-field paths cause the majority of problems.

Unrestored Path after Ploughing Field

Our Working Party which meets once a week and works in the countryside clearing green lanes, installing bridges, replacing marker and finger posts which direct walkers onto the correct paths. It has become the major contributor to pathway maintenance in the district.

The coordinated and integrated relationship of the parish adopters, footpath secretaries, and working party and our liaison with the Essex County Council PRoW officers means that many problems can be tackled expeditiously. One outcome is that problems reported by walk leaders prior to the programmed walk date have been resolved by the working party beforehand.

New Bridge

We have a Countryside Officer who vets planning permissions to see if we should oppose them on environmental grounds. Plans for new developments are also checked to ensure we do not lose footpaths. We successfully fought an attempt to close the footpath across the North Weald railway line.

A North Weald Railway Bridge

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