A Foot in the Chilterns Nordic walkers recently donated a gate under the Chiltern Society Donate a gate scheme. As a walking group we are reminded every day what a privilege it is to have such amazing walking country all around us – the Chilterns really is a wonderful place to walk in all seasons.
There are some things one cannot change about a geographical location – the contours, geology and so on and we are so lucky to have such variety. Steep hills to keep us fit and give us some spectacular views, flat valley walks, riverside, wild flower meadows, and I could go on and on.
I decided to participate in the scheme as a way of giving something extra back and to benefit all walkers in the area. I am reminded daily that some people, for whatever reason, struggle to negotiate stiles, meaning that they are restricted in their choice of where they can walk – the installation of gates in place of stiles makes a huge difference to access to the countryside.
Gates are installed by the path maintenance volunteers who keep our rights of way in good condition, armies of people working all year round to cut back vegetation, install gates, clear obstructions and I am sure many other things besides.
Travelling to other areas of the country as I do I am constantly reminded that we are lucky to have such a comprehensive network of pathways and bridleways and to have them kept in such good condition. Access for those with mobility challenges is carefully considered and information available to guide people unable to negotiate stiles.
The scheme https://chilternsociety.org.uk/donate-a-gate/ is one of the initiatives that the Society https://chilternsociety.org.uk/has taken to help people enjoy exploring this unique area and is managed by Stuart Gulliman. Stuart was so helpful from first contact, to the gate actually being installed. He manages all the negotiations with landowners, volunteer teams, and all the finer details such as the wording on the plaque, style of gate and keeps you informed all the way along with great efficiency and charm.
We have visited the gate on our group walks in all weathers and even had the ‘blessing of the gate’ by one of our walkers who is a lay preacher.
An added bonus is the gate is located near Turville and we can often visit Turville Heath Barn for refreshments at the top of the hill