In the present circumstances, some exercise is essential for everyone’s physical and mental health, as well of course for that of our dogs, and we are very lucky to be surrounded by open space and to have a range of local footpaths to enjoy.
If you’re walking locally more than usual, you might want some ideas for different routes. Some of you may still have the Stinchcombe walks leaflets that were produced some years back. Don’t worry if you missed out or can’t lay your hands on them – they can be downloaded from Strolling in the Stroud District: https://www.strollinginstrouddistrict.org/downloadablewalks.asp
Scroll down to near the bottom of the page to find them. If you fancy a change from walking, there are also a few local cycle rides listed.
Gloucestershire County Council’s interactive PRoW map can be used to locate all the public footpaths in the parish:
Drag the map to centre roughly on Stinchcombe. Click on the magnifying glass with the plus sign, bottom left, to zoom in. With repeated clicking you can zoom in sufficiently to see individual buildings and fields boundaries. Public footpaths are highlighted in pink. You might need to drag the map around to see the one you want.
Unfortunately, the Parish Council has recently been made aware of several places in the village where footpaths are not at present passable – because of locked gates, broken stiles, overgrowth and even electrified fences.
If you have public footpaths on your land, you have a legal obligation to maintain them and ensure that they remain open. The more walkable spaces there are, the easier it is for everyone to keep their distance.
Gloucestershire Highways says:-
“People living in close proximity to public rights of way are reminded that the public have a legal right to use a public right of way, and that they should not block or obstruct paths. Some paths pass close to residential properties, and in some cases through gardens, but with sensible precautions there is no reason that this would increase the risk to householders of contracting Coronavirus.
Public rights of way provide an opportunity for local people to take exercise and get some fresh air in these difficult times………
Where residents living near public rights of way have concerns then they should exercise suitable precautions to ensure social distancing from people on the path. They may also want to regularly clean any gate latches or other surfaces on any paths across their property.
The county council will work with the police and other agencies to take any further actions necessary in the event of any changes to legislation or Government guidance, however, at this time there are no plans or legal means to close public rights of way or the cycleway/ walking trail networks for COVID-19 related reasons.”