Stoke Environment Group is committed to working with all landowners in the parish to maintain and improve the footpath network in the village. Any subsequent increase in use will be monitored to ensure that this does not interfere with farming practice, or householders’ privacy. Any successful footpath strategy must be a partnership between landowners and walkers, both having their own rights and responsibilities.
Not since the invention of the bicycle have footpaths been the principal way of getting round the village (see HISTORY page). The vast majority of footpath journeys are now for leisure, exercise and dog walking. This creates different pressures on the network, which is used by people who have no connection with the land and agriculture.
Farming methods have also changed. Seventy years ago in Stoke there were more than 50 farms and smallholdings whose milk was collected daily on behalf of the Milk Marketing Board. Forty years ago there were fewer, larger herds, and some people moving in to the village complained about the cow dung on the roads. Many of the herds were ‘hunted’ from the fields to the dairy twice a day for milking, and they would make a few ‘deposits’ on the way there and back.
Today we have three large dairy farms in the village, a direct result of the nation’s obsession with cheap food (Do you buy your milk from a supermarket?). As with the change of use of footpaths, the methods employed in large scale milk production can also raise issues for those walking the paths.
Landowners - if you have issues with walkers on your land, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what practical steps might be taken.
Walkers - if you have issues with footpaths please contact us or the landowner to see how they might be tackled. You are welcome, or course, to go through official channels, but if you are a member or supporter, please make it clear that you are not complaining on behalf of Stoke Environment Group.
To see the current activities of the Footpath Group Click HERE