Fiftieth anniversary of St Albans walking club celebrated
PUBLISHED: 21:00 30 July 2017
Keen ramblers celebrated half a century since the founding of their St Albans walking club with a picnic recently.
St Albans mayor Mohammad Iqbal Zia joined The St Albans and District Footpaths Society for their garden party in Wheathampstead, 50 years after founding member Mary Hutchinson wrote to the Herts Ad.
This paper ran a letter from Mary which deplored the state of footpaths around the area, and at least 50 people agreed. Those like-minded strollers came to the first general meeting of the society on June 24 of 1967.
By the end of 1967, membership had grown to 130 people. They worked to establish, maintain, and signpost Rights of Way paths around the district and go for strolls on weekends.
Chairman of the society, Mike Marriott, 68, said it was a successful celebration: “It went very well and the mayor came along - he is our patron of the society and he is very chatty so that’s always good.
“Fifty years of a society, that’s still doing the aims of the society when it was set up, of making sure the footpaths are clear, and working with Herts county council, is really good.
“I think originally the footpaths were really hard going and it was picking through brambles and long grass to get through - but there are very few footpaths even approaching that now.”
The society now deal with the “paperwork side” of things, he said, making sure footpaths stay open and scrutinising planning applications for potential impact on the trails.
Now the society has 180 members, offers excursions every Thursday and Sunday, and work with Herts county council to improve the footpath network.