Agenda and minutes

Local Countryside Access Forum - Tuesday, 27 March 2012 7.00 pm

Venue: Function Room, Fifth Floor, Easthampstead House, Town Square, Bracknell. View directions

Contact: Amanda Roden  01344 352253

No. Item


Minutes of Last Meeting and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 83 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2011 were agreed as a correct record subject to the following amendment:


Minute 4, National and Regional LCAF Work


In the sixth paragraph, it should read ‘The total length of the Crouch Lane bridleway’ rather than ‘The section of the Hawthorne Lane bridleway’.


Membership and Recruitment


It was reported that Joe Dodson had moved out of the borough and had therefore submitted his resignation to the Forum. It was suggested that it may be worth considering recruiting more members to the Forum. Joe represented cycling interests but it would also be useful to have someone who represented disabled interests on the Forum.


David Putt would be contacted regarding his possible membership of the Forum. He could represent the interests of the community landshare project at Jealotts Hill.

(Action: Graham Pockett)


Sharon Holt had contacted some land owners to see if they would be interested in supporting work undertaken by the Forum. Thames Water were the only land owner to reply so far and they were unable to commit due to a lack of resources and structure changes within the organisation.


A combined LCAF and Biodiversity Forum site visit to FC Crowthorne Woods in the summer was proposed and this would provide a good opportunity to publicise the Forum’s work and attract new members. A press release, photos, and the use of social media and Town and Country, would be used to attract new members. Sandhurst News and Crowthorne News were considered to be good methods of communication and Radio Berkshire was also suggested.


Local Access Forum work was becoming more important due to the localism agenda coming from central government. People would need to join the Forum as individuals rather than being representative of an organisation. It was suggested that an advert regarding recruitment of new members could be added to the cycling brochure but there were no plans to revise this brochure at present and there had been a budget cut in relation to leaflet publications.


Recruitment could be advertised on the LCAF page of the Council’s website.

(Action: Rose Wicks)


National and Regional LCAF Work pdf icon PDF 24 KB

  • Report from the LAF National Conference
  • Regional LAF Conference
  • Rights of Way Condition Survey Results 2011 – 12
  • LCAF and a Local Nature Partnership
  • Communication from Richard Benyon MP
  • Paths for Communities Fund
  • Huddle
  • Attendance at neighbouring LAF meetings

Additional documents:


Natural England were co-ordinating a new grant scheme which would encourage and enable local communities to work with land owners to develop and enhance local public paths in ways that would deliver wider benefit. £1 million per annum would be divided between schemes nationally this and next financial year. There was an emphasis on funding for rural schemes, active promotion of rights of way and adding value to the local economy. Evidence of this was needed for grant claims and Local Access Forums and Highway Authorities should be involved where appropriate.


In most cases there would be a 75% grant and the remaining 25% could be funded by other groups, although 100% grants were possible. Some of the quality improvements proposed to the Borough’s Rights of Way network in the Rights of Way Improvement Plan may qualify for funding. There was an online form and guidance document in relation to the grant funding. Ineligible schemes should ‘self-select out’. There was possible landowner compensation and national trails would likely be popular ideas for schemes.


The Grants Panel would meet monthly and funding would be given as part of an ongoing process over two years. The scheme was open for applications on Monday 23 April 2012.


Comments or feedback on possible schemes to put forward for the grant funding should be forwarded to Graham Pockett or Rose Wicks .

(Action: All)


It was queried when West End Lane would be developed and if this could tie in with an application for grant funding. Uncertainty on timescales to deliver this project may be an issue as much depended on the land owner and implementation of the planning condition. Further suggestions included the loop at Peacock Farm; Temple Park as a cycle route could meet up the other side with the Stag and Hounds pub; improving the path from Ambarrow to Horseshoe Lake, and Winkfield Path. The ROWIP would also be considered for likely schemes.




Forum members had been contacted in December 2011 regarding joining Huddle, the online Forum for LAFs. Huddle arose out of a need to link up LAFs nationally after a withdrawal of funding for the England Access Forum. This had been in operation for a few months and there was evidence that it was being used by some forums. There was an aim for a minimum of one member and up to three members per LAF to be members of Huddle. Forum members would join Huddle as individuals but it was suggested that members could say that they were representing the views of their local LAF regarding a subject raised at a LAF meeting if it was in the minutes of the meeting.


Volunteers to become involved in Huddle should inform Rose Wicks or Graham Pockett.

(Action: All)


LAF National Conference


The National LAF Conference took place on Tuesday 6 March. Rose Wicks of the Parks and Countryside Service attended the conference on behalf of the LCAF in Bracknell Forest. The Conference was held in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Definitive Map and Statement Review


A review of the Definitive Map and Statement was being undertaken by the Parks and Countryside Service for the first time as a unitary authority; this had previously been undertaken by BABTiE as a Berkshire County arrangement.


There were numerous minor changes needed to the Definitive Statement, including updating road and house names. Significant changes to the Definitive Statement would need to be published twice in the local paper to allow for public consultation.


Major changes to the Definitive Map and Statement included the addition of Bracknell Footpath 24 which ran across Lily Hill Park, Crowthorne Footpath 3 would be shown on the Definitive Map, and there would be a part deletion of Bracknell Footpath 4, which had been the subject of a cycle track order. It was a Planning and Transport division responsibility to undertake cycle track orders. There were several instances where Footpaths had been physically converted to cycle tracks but had not been the subject of a cycle track order. Due to restricted timescales these would not be included in the revised Definitive Map and Statement.


A question was asked relating to the cut off in 2026 for recording historic rights of way and the possible sources of historic evidence of old paths and bridleways. The Berkshire Records Office had maps and ordnance Survey dating back to 1871 and 18th century estate maps. Bracknell was unusual as a New Town, and some footpaths had been taken out with legal orders in 1960s.


Thames Basin Heath and SANGS


Forum members received an update on the Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area (SPA) and Suitable Alternative Natural Green Spaces (SANGs).


There had been improvement works in natural and semi-natural areas. Entrance and car park improvement works had been completed at Englemere Pond, and there had been access improvement works at Jocks and Tinkers Copse. A new path link would form part of the Cut Countryside Corridor.


There was a new crossing at Harvest Ride (drop kerb and central reservation) and new seating. Improvements had been funded by developer contributions, including supporting ongoing maintenance costs.


SPA wide mitigation and avoidance measures could be difficult logistically and legally regarding local authorities operating in a unified way and contributing to onsite measures outside of their respective boundaries.  All local authorities were now signed up to joint working arrangements and Hampshire County Council were acting as ‘banker’. Natural England had a day to day delivery role.


Reference was made to an education project with Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxon Wildlife Trust to identify and develop resource material for onsite sessions, for example, at Wildmoor Heath. Children were getting more involved and there were school sessions planned in the autumn and winter, and then out and about on site.  There were good links with existing messages such as fire safety.


Potential for generating income was being investigated, for example, through car park charges at The Look Out which would be refunded when accessing The Look Out or Coral Reef. Visitor data was being sought and the possible impact on the SPA project was being looked into.


Horse riders already had to pay for a permit when accessing Swinley Forest, for example from The Look Out car park. The Crown Estate would decide whether riders would need to pay twice but the aim was for there to only be one payment for horse riders. This may mean the existing permit scheme might cease and it would be considered how the site could best serve the needs of users of the site.


2011 Annual LCAF Report


Natural England provided a template of how LAF annual reports needed to be set out. The LCAF Annual Report 2011 was being drafted with information provided under the following headings: notable events during the year, formal advice given, successes and membership changes. The following information would be included:


  • Events including LCAF meetings, site visits and the SELAF Symposium.
  • Formal advice given on the review of England Access Forum, ROWIP, modification order applications, footpath diversions and equestrian access.
  • Successes such as Thames Basin Heath SPA, access, diversion of Bracknell Footpath 15 and the mid-term review of ROWIP.
  • The addition of John Deakin, Crown Estate, to the forum and a change of Chairman from Diana Pidgeon OBE to Mike Abbott.


Any suggestions for further information to be included in the LCAF Annual Report 2011 should be forwarded to Rose Wicks as soon as possible.

(Action: All)


Reports from Officers


Rose Wicks reported that the ‘Routes and Trees’ themed Parks Photo Competition 2011 was successful. The Games coming to London and the Queen’s Jubilee would be the theme for this year’s competition with the suggestion of ‘Red, White and Blue’ in Bracknell’s open spaces. A further suggestion was ‘Crowned with Rings’.


There was a revised version of the Ramblers Route leaflet which better related the maps to the text. An event was scheduled for September which aimed to celebrate the rights of way network. The Rangers would be involved and Hugh Fitzwilliams would lead some walks.


Tom Newman would lead a cycle ride at the event and there would possibly be a treasure hunt. It was suggested that more Rambling groups could be involved and that different walking, cycling and riding groups could begin from different places on the day. It was suggested that the event could be held on 29 September instead of 22 September. Sharon Holt would either be involved herself or would ask if any horse riders would like to lead a ride. Richard Mosses would mention the event to his contacts within the Ramblers. Innes McEwen had land near Frost Folly and volunteered to be involved.


Ideas for the event should be forwarded to Rose Wicks .

(Action: All)


Applications for the Green Flag Awards had been submitted. South Hill Park would be entered in 2013, and Bracknell Town Council had entered Jocks Lane for the first time this year. With two open spaces in Winkfield entered, this brought the Borough wide total to six sites.


Graham Pockett reported that Scottish and Southern Energy were undertaking works in the area. A 33V underground electrical cable needed to be supplied to Crowthorne Substation via the Devils Highway restricted byway. There could be an archaeological site in this area and this was a well used right of way. This restricted byway would be closed to carriage drivers for two months while the work was undertaken and there would be a temporary diversion for walkers, cyclists and horse riders on Forestry Commission owned land. The decision would be taken whether the handrails installed on the diversion route should be removed after the works were completed. The work would be undertaken in October and November 2012 after the bird nesting season and the car park would remain open.


Footpath improvements had been completed along parts of Sandhurst Footpath 13A. Those planned included improving the footpath network near to the Wykery Copse development using S106 contributions. This would create a new circular route and help to protect the SSSI woodland by providing alternative routes for dog walkers close to home. There would be a footpath creation agreement for a new path from the eastern end of Winkfield Footpath 15 at Sunninghill Park to Sunninghill Road opposite Ascot Gate, Windsor Great Park.


There were modification orders in relation to Sandhurst Footpath 15, Sandhurst Footpath 21 and Crowthorne Footpath 8. No compelling legal evidence could be found to remove Sandhurst Footpath 15,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Reports from Members round the table pdf icon PDF 49 KB


Sharon Holt reported that horse riders currently only had access to twenty two per cent of public rights of way and horse-drawn vehicle drivers only five percent. Sharon tabled a letter from the British Horse Society that included a quote from Richard Benyon MP about allowing horse riders to utilise more of their off-road networks. This suggested multi-user routes could be developed if local authorities were co-operative. At a local level it suggested it would be possible to add to the bridle circuit map where horse boxes could park and who carriage drivers could contact to open gates. It was reported that there should be no obstructions with legal carriage ways.


Feedback on different areas where horse riders could ride should be forwarded to Sharon Holt.

(Action: All)


Gill Coates was no longer involved with access issues dealt with by the British Horse Society. Sharon queried how the new woodchip surface on Crouch Lane had survived through the winter, and queried whether another lane would be opened up for horse riders where a lane came out on a busy bend.


Innes McEwen reported that he had completed a higher level stewardship application scheme for the farm. Gate locks had been cut and rural crime was on the increase. It was suggested that suspicious vehicles be reported to Hugh, Innes or the Crown Estate Office. Work was being undertaken with the police in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. It was suggested that there could be a prompt sheet for suspicious things to look out for. This would be drafted for consultation.

(Action: Hugh Fitzwilliams)


Site Visits


There would be a joint site visit between LCAF and the Biodiversity Forum on 3 July 2012 with Nick Haslett from the Forestry Commission. Spaces were limited. Details of this would be forwarded to Forum members.

(Action: Rose Wicks)


Suggestions for further site visits included the enhancements at South Hill Park. Four trails were being developed with site specific waymarkers. There would be a Victorian Fair at South Hill Park on 21 July 2012 and an Historic Walk at South Hill Park on 12 May 2012. Details of these would be forwarded to Forum members as the events leaflet was nearly complete.

(Action: Rose Wicks)


Date of Next Meeting

Tuesday 2 October 2012, 7pm, Function Room, 5th Floor, Easthampstead House, Town Square, Bracknell.


Tuesday 2 October 2012, 7pm, Function Room, 5th Floor, Easthampstead House, Town Square, Bracknell.