Chadlington Gates

On May 31st the Society organised an additional walk in the summer programme; to attach plaques to two gates on Chadlington footpaths. The plaques recorded the financial contribution of £600 from the Society’s funds towards their purchase and installation.

Eileen Mace nailing the plaque Eileen Mace nailing the plaque Photo: Jim Parke

For many years the Society has had a policy of using funds, generated by income from its capital investments, to pay for gates to replace stiles on the county’s footpaths under its donate-a-gate policy. These investments, now valued at around £30,000, derive from a number of well-attended Sponsored Walks organised by OFS in the late 1960s - 70s. During the past five years some 20 gates, costing around £4000, have been provided from these funds.

The request for Chadlington funding had been made by Sharon Williams, the Wychwood Project Director. The intention was to replace 6 stiles in order to create a three mile stile-free circular walk linking Chadlington to the Wychwood Way. The Way itself is a 37 mile circular trail following waymarked rights-of-way around the heart of the former Royal Forest. Sharon was keen to establish some shorter, family friendly walks, accessible to a wide range of walking capabilities.

Once the landowners had agreed to the replacement gates, Sharon was able to enlist the support of the Cotswold Voluntary Warden Service. Dave Scott, Work Party Co-ordinator, organised a team of six volunteers who installed the gates over a five-week period, with the assistance of members of the County Council’s Countryside Access Tasks Team.

Jim, Sharon and Dave at one of the gates Jim, Sharon and Dave at one of the gates Photo: Jim Parke

The six gates, of various types, are of metal and have been supplied by the firm Centrewire.

Our Society has made a contribution of £600 towards the scheme’s overall cost of £1515. Other installations funded by OFS have included new gates on the d’Arcy Dalton Way, the Oxfordshire Way, and the Oxford Green Belt Way. These donations are the evidence that the Society continues to fulfil one of its major aims – to improve access to the countryside.

Jim Parke