To the surprise and delight of us all, 2013 presented us with a beautiful summer, with a mini-heat-wave in July, not too hot, but dry and sunny for a golden fortnight. It was a great summer for walking, and for enjoying the views across the Vale and over the Downs. Now, suddenly, and promptly on schedule, Autumn has arrived, with a ten degree plunge in temperatures, and a succession of cold fronts bringing light rain across the South. The nights are cooler, and leaf colours are just starting to change. A brisker feel to the air prompts us all to get out into the countryside and up onto The Ridgeway to enjoy walking before the damp leads to mud underfoot.
We have had a busy summer, working with our colleagues on plans for a new organisation for the management of The Ridgeway National Trail, to ensure its future maintenance and promotion to the standards that we all wish to see. It seems likely that new partnerships will be formed for each of The Ridgeway and Thames Path Trails, at presenty combined in one organisation, and that a number of other interests as well as ourselves will be introduced into the partnership, to strengthen engagement with the community.
Our plans for The Great Stones Way in Wiltshire have continued to be frustrated by other pre-occupations, which have stood in the way of the new round of consultations that we had planned. However, we are making progress with plans for publication of a map and guide of the whole route next year, and are hoping to arrange a walk over the route next year in conjunction with the launch of the guide. In the meantime, we would welcome feed-back from walkers on the various alternative routes available across the Vale of Pewsey.