News of The Fight against the Great Stones Way Route
See www.ridgewayfriends.org for background information.
Since March 2011 the Friends of the Ridgeway have been threatening to impose their ‘preferred route’ for their GSW through the Pewsey Vale south of Overton Hill.
In the face of huge opposition by all the parishes affected by this route, and against the FotR’s own stated aims to not cause problems to residents, Ian Ritchie and Jeff Goddard have colluded with a third party to produce a published ‘guide’ to this unofficial GSW route.
This booklet is deliberately meant to deceive by giving the impression that the route is ‘official’ and that it will be ‘upgraded’ to National Standards. The facts are that this route does not have the support of the residents and farmers along it. This trail route has been made by joining sections of local existing public rights of way that were never intended as a contiguous through route. This means that large numbers of strangers will be funnelled past private homes and through farmyards that were never intended for other than local people. This causes problems of security, privacy, litter and dogs. Walkers cause disturbance to farming, shooting and damage to crops. Cars parked by walkers using part of the trail cause obstruction in narrow lanes and property entrances.
Ian Ritchie and Jeff Goddard have consistently made unsustainable claims about any benefits to communities affected by their preferred route. They have been inconsistent and untruthful about proposed numbers of walkers aimed at gaining support from various organisations and funding opportunities. Fortunately the FotR’s dishonesty has been realised, and funding has been removed and denied for future ‘improvements’.
Wiltshire Council has now stated categorically that it does not support this 'preferred route' that the FotR are trying to impose. Wiltshire Council has presented the FotR with various alternative routes that would potentially be acceptable - the FotR have rejected these out of hand, and have ignored the fact that numerous other existing routes through the Vale of Pewsey are already established and accepted.
Ian Ritchie and Jeff Goddard are dishonest and dishonourable - not the sort of ‘gentlemen’ you would want in your cricket club or church community, let alone to run a charity that purports to recognise the views of residents and landowners affected by their perverse actions. The FotR have unlawfully fixed markers to private property without permission, and have fixed markers and stickers to Council and Highways property without permission. Wiltshire Council has refused to allow such markers as they give a false impression that the route is official. The many ‘patrons’ that the FotR have gathered should be made aware of the behaviour of these two ‘gentlemen’.
Direct action against the GSW is to remove all markers and stickers that are discovered along this unofficial route. It has been reported that 60 - 70 have already been removed. Any markers or stickers replaced by the FotR will be removed when found.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to add your support to the residents fighting this unwanted and undesirable trail route which will deny the rights of many people to the quiet enjoyment of their property.
Action Against the GSW. December 2014
Please contact FotR to register your objections to their route.
Ian Ritchie (Responsible for Imposing the GSW route)
22 Oxford St, Ramsbury Marlborough SN8 2PS
The Limes, Oxford St, Ramsbury SN8 2PS
01672 520090 also 07977 454047
Jeff Goddard (Secretary),
6 Darell Rd Caversham RG4 7AY
Latest News May 2015
Ian Ritchie has left the Chair of the FotR to become Chair of the new Ridgeway Partnership. Talk about keeping it in the clique.
If more funds become available to this new organisation with Ian Ritchie as Chair, it does not bode well for the parishes fighting this unwanted GSW route. Time will tell.