Parish Paths Partnership (P3) Walks

 

Houghton Conquest

 PARISH PATHS PARTNERSHIP

 

Houghton Conquest Parish Paths Partnership (P3) started in March 1996 as part of a national scheme aimed at getting local people involved in improving, managing and making decisions about rights of way in their parish.

Help and advice was given by Guy Lambourne the Community Paths Officer from Bedfordshire County Council. The aim was to bring all paths in the Parish into good condition and well used by the year 2000.

All the parish paths were surveyed by Alan Hall and Doris Wickings to determine what work was needed. Over the next few years a number of footbridges were built or repaired, several kissing gates installed, stiles repaired and renewed, and many new waymarker posts erected throughout the Parish by a team of very enthusiastic volunteers. The photos taken show how much fun these work parties were. After much hard work one footpath was reinstated between Houghton Conquest and Wilstead after 50 years of neglect.

New noticeboards with maps were installed on the paths to Kingswood with artwork by Alan Hall and Doris Wickings. Four leaflets of local walks were designed and printed, funded by Bedfordshire County Council. These are still available in booklet form as well as being on the internet (Google “walks in Houghton Conquest”).

As well as the work parties in the early days, there have since been monthly walks (274 in total) mostly on the parish paths on Saturdays in the winter and weekday evenings in summer. Over the years a number of all-day summer walks were held walking paths further afield and including a pub lunch along the way.

In recent years, walker numbers have fallen (age has caught up with many of us!) and we have not been joined by any new faces. It has therefore sadly been decided to disband the P3 group after 274 walks and many happy miles together, seldom in the rain but often in the Houghton Conquest mud!

Should you encounter problems with paths in our Parish, you should report them to the Rights of Way Officer, Drew Gwilliam at rightsofway@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk (0300 300 6544) and if anyone in the village is interested in resurrecting the P3 group, Paul & Doris Wickings (01234 740231) and John Purdy (01234 740282) will be happy to give advice.