The society has appointed Devon paths-expert Helen Clayton to the new post of case officer (rights of way). The society created this post to address the increasing number of issues concerning public paths in England and Wales.
Helen will champion public paths for the society, and respond to the many issues raised by its members, advising on problems such as illegal obstructions and how to claim unrecorded routes. She will work closely with the society’s 41 volunteer local correspondents, assist with training, and liaise with other user organisations, such as the British Horse Society and Ramblers, to present a united front on public-path issues.
For the past 18 years Helen has worked for Devon County Council, most recently as public rights of way senior officer—legal and development. She led a team dealing with the definitive (official) map of public paths, parish and community engagement, and the Devon Countryside Access Forum. She has considerable expertise on all public rights-of-way matters, and is used to working with volunteers. She is a member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management and has represented the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) Rights of Way Managers Group at a regional and national level.
Helen enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for public rights of way and communicating their complexity in plain language. She lives in Newton Abbot, Devon, with her husband and cat, and enjoys walking the coast and countryside, gardening and baking.
Says Helen: ‘After many years with a local authority it is refreshing to work for a charity which defends people’s rights to use public paths. I look forward to getting involved in campaigns, and helping to sort out problems to enable more people to enjoy their rights in town and country.’
Adds Kate Ashbrook, general secretary: ‘We are delighted to welcome Helen and to increase our capacity to campaign for public paths, which are the most important means by which people gain access to our countryside.’