South Molton footpath bid

BEATING the bounds of South Molton with sticks is just one of a variety of initiatives to open up more footpaths, cycle and bridleways in the area. Despite being surrounded by countryside the area has very few footpaths or tracks for horses and cyclists,

BEATING the bounds of South Molton with sticks is just one of a variety of initiatives to open up more footpaths, cycle and bridleways in the area.

Despite being surrounded by countryside the area has very few footpaths or tracks for horses and cyclists, so local community group STRIDE (Strengthening Trails in Devon) is working with landowners and the community to create or upgrade pathways to provide more outdoor leisure opportunities.

Following a suggestion from the Mayor, Councillor Stephen White, the group has spoken with various landowners on the town boundary who have agreed to let the ancient tradition of "beating the bounds" take place on their land.

It will consist of a walk along around four kilometres of the boundary on Sunday, June 20 as part of South Molton Olde English Fayre.


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In bygone days, men of the town or village would take the boys around the parish boundary, beating specific trees and stones with sticks. This ensured they knew the exact location of the boundary and could defend it.

This summer, families and girls will be equally welcome.

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"The event is ideal because people will be able to walk paths they might not otherwise have access to," said Jan Menday of STRIDE.

"South Molton has few footpaths, one short bridleway under the A361 and no cycleways - we have a lot of countryside, but have no access to it."

She said working with willing landowners, the group hopes to get footpaths upgraded to multi-user paths, or new paths created.

"The response has been extremely positive and there are already commitments for both new bridleways and footpaths," continued Jan.

"There is funding available through various grants, which makes the scheme very attractive for landowners.

"We're committed to working only with willing landowners, helping them to get the most out of pathways, sorting out desirable diversions away from property and co-ordinating compensation payments for acceptable new or upgraded routes.

"The whole of Devon is competing for this funding so time is of the essence."

Landowners or anyone else who would like to find out more about the help STRIDE can offer, or would like to join the group, can contact Jan Menday on (01769) 574662 or email jmenday@gmail.com.

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