Calstock Footpath Society consists of a group of local residents and supporters who care for the footpaths and Public Rights of Way around Calstock Parish.
In a usual year we meet 3 times and hold an AGM in January. Where possible we also lead a monthly walk. Members are entitled to attend any of the meetings and join the walks as part of their membership. Non-members are asked to pay a small fee to join a walk, which covers the third party insurance.
We are run by a small voluntary committee consisting of a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Our members may choose to be involved in one of our active projects. You can be a Path Monitor, checking that an area of paths are free of obstructions and have accurate signs and that there are no problems there, three times a year. This information is shared with Calstock Parish Council who organise repairs, sometimes alongside Cornwall Council.
You may like the idea of leading a walk and all our Walks Leaders are volunteers who follow a Walk Leader Guide and carry a first aid kit and provide some safety information. Due to the nature of the terrain, we are concerned for you and will do the best we can to appraise you of any dangers or troublesome parts, however we are not responsible for your safety. Our walks are led by a Walk Leader who will have checked the walk route carefully beforehand, and a back marker who brings up the rear.
Join us for a led walk sometimes within the Parish or elsewhere. We are fortunate to be close to Dartmoor and quiet hamlets and unspoilt corners. Occasionally we go out to the coast. If you are member then the walks are included in your membership. Where we can we offer non-members the chance to walk with us, for a donation of £3 per walk to cover our insurance. After much discussion we decided that all our walks are dog-free unless of course you have a registered assistance dog that is kept on a lead. This is for the safety of our members.
There has been much in the news about "Lost Paths" and The Ramblers and British Horse Society are leading the way to bring this to the public awareness. A "lost path" is any path, track or minor road that is not currently designated on either the public highway network or Public Right of Way map. Every local authority has a Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way. Unfortunately the Definitive Maps have many errors, paths on the wrong sides of hedges, gaps between the designated path and the road, paths missed off altogether. Within Cornwall it is estimated that there are over 300 paths that are missing from the map and many more of these small gaps between a designated path and the road to get to it.
Public Rights of Way are a legal right to use that path. Public Footpaths are for walking only and Public Bridleways are for walking, cycling and horse riding. There are also Restricted Byways which are often used where there is limited vehicular access for properties.
Where errors or paths missed off the Definitive Map are identified there is a process called making a Map Modification Order to follow. To summarise: 1. Recognise a path that is missing or an error in the current Definitive Map, 2. Gather historical evidence from maps and from local people who have walked the path for over 20 years, 3. Apply to Cornwall Council for a Map Modification Order, 4. Cornwall Council will check and if they agree there is enough evidence that the law requires they will issue a consultation with the landowner(s), 5. If the landowner(s) agree then the path can be added to the Map, however if they dispute and the issues cannot be resolved, then it will go to public inquiry.
It is worth doing because it saves paths, tracks and minor roads that have been walked for years from becoming suddenly no go zones!
We are lucky in Calstock Parish because the concerned local residents who formed Calstock Footpath Society made great strides to identify and designate essential paths, for instance the crossing over the railway track at Calstock and the path, Station Lane, that leads to the station.
Some historical paths are sadly unlikely ever to be designated today as the terrain is treacherous. However we have identified a few gaps and one undesignated track that we are working towards sending in to Cornwall Council.
A longstanding ask is for the path between Newton Farm and Harrowbarrow is designated. The Ramblers sent an application to Cornwall Council in 2009. In 2018 this went to the Secretary of State who determined that the consultation with the landowner should take place. This consultation has recently been approvedby our local Parish Council and by Cornwall Council.
Calstock Footpath Society is a member of the Calstock Walkway and Wetlands Partnership, consisting of organisations that are working together to enhance the Environment Agency's new flood prevention scheme in Calstock to be the best it can be for the community and wildlife. The Partnership is supporting the Tamar Community Trust. The boardwalk "bridge" is now open to allow the continuation of the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail.
You may like to read our Constitution
c.Calstock Footpath Society rev. May 2021