Hodnet Footpath Group

Hodnet Footpath Group Walk 3 April 2016

Who are we?

We are a friendly group of people who enjoy walking (country strolls rather than major cross country hikes/rambles!) and who also help to maintain/repair our local paths.

We came together as a result of the 2009/10 Parish Plan, and our aim was to promote use of our local footpaths – essentially by making them both better known and easier to use. To that end, as well as working with Shropshire Council (as one of their official Parish Path Partnership ‘P3’ groups), and local landowners, to improve access to/maintenance of our local paths we also organise group walks – accompanied children and dogs (on leads) always welcome.

You can join our group in full (attend meetings and work parties, etc.) or enrol as a ‘friend’ (i.e. be e-mailed information on our group walks). Either way, ‘membership’ is free.

For more details contact:

Chair: Jake Williams Tel 07474 974477

Secretary: David Wilson Tel 01630 685305 or email

You can follow us on Facebook too.

Download our latest information as PDF files:

What do we do and what have we done?

Although we are fairly few in number, we think we have achieved rather a lot – as summarised below. That said, we’d welcome any extra help, so don’t leave it to others – do get in touch. No great skills are required to become involved, just enthusiasm and a friendly spirit.

Campaigning for Better Access

Our right to access the countryside was only formally recognised by statute with the passing of the Town and Country Planning Act 1949, part of which required councils to create a ‘definitive map’ for their area to record all existing publics paths, bridleways, etc. Unfortunately, the process for doing so wasn’t very robust, and related guidance was patchy, with the result that most of the work was left to the discretion Parish Councils, many of which were ‘manned’ by people who owned land and did not always have the greatest interest in encouraging access – and so many historic but infrequently used/unwanted routes were simply not added to the new maps.

If you look at old maps (try National Library of Scotland) you will probably be astounded at how many paths and tracks were recorded on Victorian/Edwardian era Ordnance Survey maps, but which simply did not get recorded on the first definitive maps printed in the 1950’s – and from which the Ordnance Survey derive and show current rights of way information.

As a result we now have many paths that stop short of useful desinations, or at parish boundaries or simply peter out the middle of nowhere; and paths that are variously designated as either bridleways or footpaths, seemingly at random, along their otherwise continuous route.

Although a legal process was later legislated for (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) to permit ‘missing’ rights of way to be reclaimed, it is a long and laborious process fraught with difficulty – not least as most people who could perhaps give evidence of past use are increasingly likely to now be deceased.

Working with Stoke on Tern Footpath Group we are involved in a joint campaign to have recognised a long used but unmapped, and now blocked (by new landowners), route between Ollerton and Peplow, see ClipCLOP Appeal for details.

Path Repairs

We’ve improved the way-marking of nearly all local paths, and some further afield too, and also improved many stiles – also adding dog gates. But the more help we have, the more we can do!

When it comes to stiles, the photos below show some of our ‘before’ and ‘after’ work, first at a stile in Wollerton, then one at Hodnet, where we also wanted to improve access for dogs.


We have also produced ten local walk leaflets, plus a leaflet containing general information and a brief summary of all our walks.  Hardcopies are available from Hodnet’s Village Store, the Bear Hotel and other local outlets – including Market Drayton Library. You can download copies from the Local Walk Leaflet page in this website’s Tourism section.

New Paths

Our 1st ‘big project’ was undoubtedly working with Shropshire Council/Hodnet Parish Council and a local landowner to help create a permissive footpath between Hodnet and Marchamley. Community support for this seemed strong, as evidenced by the results of the Parish Plan exercise of a few years ago, and a specific Parish Council questionnaire on this matter issued at the end of 2011.

The path opened in March 2013, and brief details plus its route can be viewed here. A video of the opening ceremony is available on this page.

We also played a part in the work of (re)establishing legal access to the Wollerton Wetlands from Wollerton and in encouraging Shrophsire Council to maintain it – use this link for more information.

Where can I walk?

Shropshire Council have a great interactive map on their website, which contains a side menu allowing users to mark their location and add details – such as all (or different types of) rights of way, lanes, council boundaries, and all sorts of other useful information. You can access it via this LINK

They also have web pages dedicated to Countryside Access and Rights of Way, see HERE and a page about P3 schemes too. plus much more……

Local walking groups

From time to time we receive enquiries from people looking for a local walking group. Requirements as to location, length, suitable time of the week etc. all vary enormously, so we have compiled a list of some regular activities in N. Shropshire and hope it will prove a useful starter for your investigations. It can be downloaded here. (Information correct to the best of our knowledge in March 2015.)

Dog Walkers

Many people who use country paths do so to walk their dogs, and without their regular use many paths would be much harder to use/follow. However, irresponsible dog ownership can cause problems, so please keep them on a lead near livestock and clear up their poop – dog faeces can spread nasty diseases to livestock and no-one likes seeing it, let alone treading in it!