Committee meeting synopsis

Meeting date: 6 November, 2017

Yet again we dealt with a wide range of topics.

As usual, we started with reviewing our last two (in this case) walks. The Garden Party walk (1 October) had gone well, attracting 20 walkers, and the same was true of the Mid-Norfolk Railway walk from Thuxton, also with 20 walkers - and the added advantage of a beautiful warm and sunny day (for which, of course, we take full credit!). We were aware of a small confusion between us and the MNR about which tickets were needed for train travel, but this was soon resolved. Following these two walks, we have secured enough money in the bank to be able to meet our standing commitments for 2018 - our subscription to National WaW, the public liability insurance we need to lead our walks, and the cost of running the website. All of this money has come from payments you have paid to use to join our walks, so a big thank you is due. We now have a little left over, but not enough for extravagance, especially as we would like to expand our publicity: we are considering buying more ‘stickers’ (they peel off, rather than stick), which we now have placed in 20 businesses in the town, with more still thinking about it and yet more to ask. These would take up pretty well all of our free money, so it’s a decision we will take with care.

We were represented at the recent meeting called by the Friends of Dereham Memorial Hall (as a follow up to their September Fringe Festival) and we are keen to support initiatives which encourage our community groups to work together and share ideas and resources, and most definitely those that are likely to raise the profile of Dereham, whether to its residents or to potential visitors. We will follow - and participate in - these developments.

Now that summer is behind us (sob!), so is the growth season for nettles and brambles (though they do seem to be able to keep going when everything else is slowing down), so path clearance activity is winding down somewhat. Nevertheless, at the end of September, we had the assistance of Peter James from The Ramblers on Restricted Byway 31, and of The Conservation Volunteers on Restricted Byway 30, the former dealing with surface clearance, the latter significantly cutting back a hedge that all but blocked the path. These actions were very timely, as our 1 October walk used both paths.

Quilt square Our first walk of 2018 will be on 1 January - further details will be sent our later this month. For the rest of the year, we are currently planning a similar pattern to that of 2017, though looking to make some changes to keep our walks different and fresh, and we have also asked all on our emailing list for their thoughts and views so we can try to offer a walks programme suitable to everyone. If you aren’t on our emailing list but would like to be, please contact us.

Our new pack of 14 walks is now reaching the final stages of preparation. The walks are pretty well complete and print ready, so we await only hearing from Tesco whether we will get the money we need (£1285, to add to the £750 awarded by Dereham Town Council). We expect to hear during November, though it might be only late on.

We continue to liaise with our WaW colleagues in Cromer, and were delighted to hear that they will be hosting the Annual Get Together for 2018; we have offered to help in whatever way we can. Back here in Dereham, Ken Hawkins has now been appointed to the National Committee - still finding out how he might most usefully contribute. Still at the national level, Walkers are Welcome has long had a quilt made up of squares from as many of its accredited locations as have prepared one: our thanks go to Joan Isbill for making a square for Dereham, which we have now sent in.