From the Chairman

First I would like to express my thanks to my predecessor, Liz Adams, for her leadership of the Society over the past 4 years. During her time in office the Society introduced the policy of making grants to replace stiles by gates at a number of footpaths throughout the county, and in particular those on the d’Arcy Dalton Way and the Oxfordshire Way. In this activity the Society is furthering one of its principal objectives which are to improve the rights of way and access to open spaces in the County.

The Society also embarked on detailed surveys of the d’Arcy Dalton Way and the circular walks associated with it. This information has been passed on to the Countryside Access Service of the County Council and it has been pleasing to note that improvements to the path infrastructure have been made to remedy the problems which the survey identified.

The Society was saddened by the death of its long serving President and former Chairman, Jack Ibbott, in December. Jack had been a doughty fighter on behalf of walkers in the countryside. He was in the forefront of the campaign in the late 1940s and early 1950s when existing footpaths needed to be identified and given the legal protection of being shown on the definitive maps of public rights of way.

The Executive Committee considered who should replace Jack and the name of Sir Hugo Brunner, former Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, was its unanimous choice. The Committee is delighted that Sir Hugo was pleased to accept the Presidency and in that capacity he came to introduce himself and to give a send-off at the start of the first Jack Ibbott Memorial Walk on June 29th.

Last year the Society took an exhibition stall at the Wychwood Country Show. This was deemed to be a very successful event as it gave an opportunity for us to talk to many interested members of the public, most of whom had neither heard of the Society nor knew of its work. This year the Society has taken stalls at four events: the Abingdon Air Show, Burford Fair, the Vale of White Horse show at Uffington and Wychwood County Fair and I am very grateful for those members who man the stalls.

We welcome three new members of the Committee - Mike Wykes who takes over from John Eyre as the Society’s Treasurer, Lesley Fraser and [name removed at their request]. I welcome the contribution they are going to make to the future management of the Society.