Queen’s award nomination for Kenilworth group marks 40 years of volunteer dedication

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Outdoor enthusiasts are celebrating 40 years of hard work marking out and maintaining over 100 miles of footpath in Kenilworth’s fields.

Back in 1974, keen walkers Brian and Maureen Nicol returned from a trip to Uganda to discover the disappointing marked and maintained pathways in Kenilworth.

They immediately set about putting things right and the Kenilworth Footpath Preservation Group was born.

Since this time, the group has set about maintaining and promoting walks and its volunteer members are responsible for defining almost every marked footpath and signpost around the town.

Mr Nicol, who is still an active member of the club, said they simply wanted to make walking easy and accessible.

“Back in the beginning the council did very little for footways and paths,” he said.

“Now they help us a lot with funds for new signs and repairs, but certainly back in the beginning we were making everything ourselves from bits of scrap wood.

“It was trial and error when we started, until we got hold of the definitive map of rights of way and then we were off.

“We are very fortunate to have wide ranging skills in our group and so everything was within our reach.

“There are some lovely walks around, especially up at the castle and we want to make sure they are marked and known to people.”

They couple has helped define over 100 miles of rights of way around the district along with the thriving club of over 30 volunteers.

The group has established itself as leaders in the area and volunteers continue to walk the routes each week and carry out repairs and alterations to signs and paths which are now well trodden by walkers from all over the country.

Their work is so well respected that in 2010 they were presented with an award from the council, and are currently being considered as nominees for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The accolade is handed out to just a handful of organisations each year and was presented to Waverley Day Centre just months ago.

The volunteers will find out if they have been successful later this summer.

But they have plenty to keep them occupied as they continue to work on the latest edition of their comprehensive guide to walks across Warwick district and Coventry.

Members are hoping to mark the anniversary with help from a social historian who would be able to work on the well documented history of the group.

For details, or to join volunteers, contact {mailto:enquiries@kenilworthfootpaths.org.uk