Cymraeg

Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails Volunteers receive the Queen’ s Award for Voluntary Service

Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails volunteers, a group of volunteers hosted by Oxfordshire County Council, have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

\The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The MBE for Volunteer Groups
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The MBE for Volunteer Groups

The National Trail Volunteers help to maintain, enhance and promote the 2 Trails. The Thames Path starts at the source of the Thames, near Kemble Gloucestershire and follows the river 184 miles to the Thames Barrier Greenwich. The Ridgeway runs for 87miles from Overton Hill near Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.

The volunteers keep the public informed and engaged through social media, help in the office, monitor sections of the Trails reporting back any issues, through to working in all weathers maintaining our National Trail standards. Every week throughout the year volunteer work parties install signs, repair gates, cut grass and clear scrub, to name but a few tasks. Volunteers come from towns and villages along the trails, and further afield.

Everyone has a passion to help keep the trails open for the local communities as well as national and international tourists, which in turn helps attract more visitors to the many pubs, cafes and tourist destinations the Trails have to offer.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including a community shop in Cornwall, a group working with refugees and vulnerable people in Stirling and our very own National Trail Volunteers.

Chairman of the Thames Path National Trail’s Partnership and volunteer, West Oxfordshire Councillor Stephen Good said: ‘I’m delighted that our group’s work has been recognised, it pays tribute to all the hard work and commitment from our volunteers’.

Representatives of the National Trails will receive the award from Tim Stevenson OBE., Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year Award.

Dr Mayon-White, a National Trails Volunteer, said:

‘We’re out in all weathers looking after the Thames and Ridgeway because we love the countryside and enjoy making these National Trails easier for everyone to enjoy them. It’s a great honour to be recognised with the Queen’s Award, for doing something that we enjoy so much and is valued by everyone using the Trails. Many of us are in our retirement years, but that doesn’t stop us from taking on tasks such as online mapping and social media, making and putting in fingerposts and installing gates.’

Marian Spain, Natural England’s Chief Executive and a regular user of The Ridgeway, said: ‘I am delighted to see this prestigious award go to the dedicated volunteers on the Thames Path and Ridgeway. Not only do they play a significant role in maintaining the quality of the trail, but the volunteer group also provides many people with an opportunity to connect with nature whilst walking on the paths. Living close to The Ridgeway I can vouch for just how well cared for this Trail is and how valued it is by locals and visitors alike.’

Visit The Queens’s Award  for further details.
To learn more about the Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails and volunteering opportunities visit https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ and click on the links to find each of the Trails.

Follow us : @ThamesPathNT

Covid-19 and Walking on the Thames Path

We hope you will enjoy walking the Thames Path, so please follow the guidance given by the government about taking exercise outdoors safely:

Stay apart – Act responsibly – Save lives

Also when you’re out and about, do remember the Countryside Code 

Follow @ThamesPathNT on Twitter and Facebook for news from the Trail, and share your photos and stories.

Only travel to the Thames Path if you haven’t got suitable places to enjoy closer to home. Usually we would welcome lots of visitors, but social distancing reduces the numbers of people that car parks and the Trail can accommodate.

The Thames Path National Trail is very narrow in many places, even in towns, which makes it difficult for people to stay safely 2m apart from others.

If you’re walking, running or cycling (where permitted) on the Thames Path, please be considerate of other users and take the required action to maintain 2m distance from people as you pass each other.

Do not congregate around gates and areas where boats are moored. Please be respectful of boat users. If you’re on a towpath or beside moorings then you’re probably within 2m of the people living on the boats.

The Canal and River Trust has issued useful advice for boaters and people using towpaths,

Environment Agency updates

Here’s advice from London’s Parks and Green Spaces

Consider waiting to visit popular beauty spots until after restrictions have eased. Be considerate of local residents and farmers, they’re also having to keep to government guidelines.

We’ve had to put on hold the Thames Path National Trail volunteer scheme. This means that our volunteers are not able to monitor all 184 miles of the Trail to report on safety issues including obstructions, erosion, damaged signs, fallen trees.

If you spot anything that would be a risk to the safety of people using the Path, please report the location, giving OS coordinates if possible, to Thames.Path@oxfordshire.gov.uk and we will do our best to work with partner Highway Authorities, the Environment Agency and landowners to resolve the problem.

We and our contractors are catching up with mowing and managing the riverside vegetation, so please take extra care if you meet people working on the Path, thank you.
The Thames Path National Trail will still be here for you to enjoy after the current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Stay apart – Act responsibly – Save lives

Follow @ThamesPathNT on Twitter and Facebook for news from the Trail, and share your photos and stories.