Litter picking equipment

This spring, over the course of 4 weeks, our group members collected over 50 bags of rubbish from about 5 miles of roadside verge on the approach roads to our village.

Our litter picking activities qualified us to apply for equipment under a local government scheme and we were successful in receiving enough equipment to allow for a group of 10 litter pickers to go out fully equipped with litter picker sticks, bags on hoops, gloves and Hi Viz vests. This will mean we can continue our litter picking efforts without the need to collect and return equipment from Devizes. Thanks Wiltshire Council for the equipment and for disposing of the collected litter.

We’d like to share our good fortune with any other local groups or individuals. If you live locally and would like to borrow this equipment to clear your own area of rubbish, please send an email to bedwynfootpathsgroup@gmail.com

North Wessex Downs Walking Festival

8th – 23rd June

‘ Top class walking country – big skies, wooded valleys, stunning landscape – we have it all here in the North Wessex Downs!’  Head over to North Wessex Downs website to see the wonderful variety of walks offered in their very first walking festival. A chance to explore lesser known parts of the countryside in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Click here to choose a walk

In case of emergency

After a recent incident on one of our walks, members have kindly sent in a few suggestions of services that might help in an emergency and I’d like to share these suggestions here, along with a few of my own.

Consider carrying an ICE card (In case of emergency card) giving details of any medical issues and emergency contact numbers. There are many websites that offer templates for these cards and suggestions for what to include, just search online for ICE card templates or contact the group for an example of one. Keep the card in the outside pocket of your rucksack or coat.

On some mobile phones you can put your emergency contact number on the front screen of your phone so that your phone does not have to be unlocked to call your emergency contact person and some phones will alert your emergency contact number when you have called the emergency services and give your location. Whether you can do this will depend on your phone model so you’ll need to check instructions for your particular phone.

There is a system available that allows you to send a text if the phone signal is too weak. It was originally set up for people who are hard of hearing or have speech impairments but the system can be used by others. You do need to pre-register. Details here: www.emergencysms.net

A grid reference could help the emergency services find you if you are in an isolated location. There are phone apps which can give your location as a Grid reference. GridReferenceFreeOS is one app that has been suggested but there are others including Ordnance Survey. Check out the app store on your phone for a suitable one.

This video, suggested by one of our members, shows how 112 is a useful alternative to dialling 999 from a mobile especially if travelling abroad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPZv_8dABfU

Defibrillators: Find out where the local ones are. Bedwyn’s are located outside the village hall to the left-hand side, and outside the surgery in Church St, also to the left of the building. Look for the yellow boxes. 999 operators will help you find and access the machines. If necessary they will advise you but the machines speak for themselves and will tell you what to do when opened. Our local surgery regularly runs sessions to familiarise people in the use of defibrillators so ask at the surgery if you are interested in these.

A lot of the suggestions above rely on a phone (and a phone signal!) and of course this is no substitute for a good map so I’d suggest that you always carry one with you too when out walking to help direct any services to your location. If walking with a group, please tell the leader or backmarker if you wish to leave the group to walk ahead or behind the group. The leader will be carrying maps, first aid kits etc to help you if necessary but can only do so if they know where you are!

First Aid courses are offered by many services. Always worth doing one whenever you have the opportunity to learn or refresh your skills, or have a look online for videos demonstrating what to do in an emergency. Some very useful ones here from British Heart Foundation: https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/how-to-save-a-life/how-to-do-cpr/cpr-training-videos

Hopefully you will never need to use any of the above but best to be prepared, especially if walking alone or in remote areas. As our amazing group of walkers showed, the more people that can help in any way possible in an emergency, the better the outcome. Safe walking!

Bedwyn Health Walks

Bedwyn Health Walks launched this week when residents met the team on Sunday at the village hall and tried out Nordic walking poles. Health walks offer short weekday local walks in a secure environment with a supportive, friendly and sociable group. Whatever your ability the benefits of walking are many in terms of health and wellbeing, as well as the sheer enjoyment of being outside in the countryside. The scheme will need volunteer walk leaders as well as participants so why not get involved? It is well known that the feel-good factor of volunteering benefits the health of the volunteers almost as much as those they help. For Health Walks info contact Jude on 07444 642309.

This new scheme means that walkers in our area are now fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the countryside and walking whatever their ability. Get fit and increase your confidence with the health walks, then when you feel able, come and join Bedwyn Footpaths Group monthly walks (see the events page) or if you are an independent walker then check out our self-guided walks and archive page for suggestions of local routes. Our group also hold special events through the year so enter your email at the bottom of this page if you’d like to receive notification of these.

A blog about a blog

Have got the New Year resolutions off to a good start by doing something on my to-do list since last February! Thank you Glyn for your patience in waiting for my promised blog entry about our group. Here’s the result onthehills.co.uk I hope you all feel I’ve done the group justice – I could have blown the suggested 500 words many times with all the great stuff we’ve done together in last 4 years. Here’s to 2019! Well worth checking out Glyn’s award winning blog for info and features on walking. I have to say he seems much keener on walking uphill than I tend to be 🙂

Bedwyn’s New Year walk

Lots of visiting walkers in the village since a Bedwyn walk was featured at No. 1 in The Saturday Times Weekend New Year walks on 29th Dec and our own walk leaflets have been flying off the shelves at the Information kiosk, the Post Office and from The Three Tuns! To download your own copies visit our Self-Guided Walks page.

Bedwyn’s new information kiosk!

Our new walk leaflets are back from the printers and will be available in the new information kiosk (aka the old telephone box!) from next week! If you can’t wait until then, download your own copies to keep from the Self-guided walks link on the Local Walks page of this website. There are currently 3 walk routes to choose from, more coming in the New Year.

Don’t lose your way

Check this out from the Rambler’s website – Can you help to save our paths? The clock is ticking – we only have until January 2026

Well over 140,000 miles of public paths criss-cross England and Wales. This network has evolved over centuries with many paths dating back to medieval times – or earlier! These paths link villages, hamlets, roads and towns – they describe how generations before us travelled to the pub, field or shops and reflect thechanging patterns of human interaction with the landscape. To this day, millions of people across our towns, cities and countryside, use this fantastic network. However, miles and miles of our public paths are unrecorded and if they are not put on the map by 1 January 2026, they will be lost for ever.

Check out the Ramblers website to find out how you can help

Wilton Water walk

Good to see that the path by the Alpacas in Wilton is still clear after Ramblers volunteers cleared shoulder-high undergrowth blocking it last year. A lovely relaxing Sunday afternoon walk around Wilton Water with family, including daughter, born and bred Great Bedwyn, she now has architects practice near Solihull, Thread Architects, and has been using her many talents (and her free time) to help me create this website for Bedwyn Footpaths Group. Huge thanks for your help and support Rachel!