From the Chairman

Keeping the footpaths open and accessible to all was one of the tenets of the Society in 1926 and in 2012 this is still an important part of the Society's activities. After two dry winters, despite the snow, hosepipe bans were introduced in April and then the rain finally came. Streams and rivers filled up and fields became quagmires made worse in those with cattle. Hedgerows suddenly were lush with greenery and some walks felt as though one was trekking through unexplored jungle! However these inconveniences have not deterred OFS members, though cries of 'I need a dock leaf' have been heard as the nettles have been particularly vicious. Occasional detours have had to be made around flooded paths and fallen trees but we have kept walking.

Raising the cost of the subscription two years ago has allowed the Society to cover its expenditure without having to recourse to the use of accumulated funds. It has enabled the Society to fund the purchase of gates to replace stiles and we have made a contribution to the Cotswold Wardens for their policy of making walks stile free and have agreed to make a contribution to the County Council to replace deficient stiles, both on a circular walk leading from the d'Arcy Dalton Way as well as the Oxfordshire Way. The latter has a section between Waterperry and Pyrton with 38 stiles, some of which are in very poor condition. Although it was hoped that members of the Society might, in future, be able to install gates, at preliminary teaching sessions with the County Council Field Officers to install way mark posts, the volunteers found the work hard physical labour. So it would currently seem that the best way OFS can make a contribution to improving the rights of way is to survey, report deficiencies of paths, stiles and bridges and donate money to the County Council for they, or their contractors, to install gates and posts.

The Newsletter provides an opportunity to describe some of the activities of the Society with accompanying pictures and demonstrates how vibrant the Society is.