There can’t be too many people who didn’t take the opportunity to wander, stroll or run around the shelter belt during lockdowns. Our shelter belt encircles Fairfield Park and measures approximately 2.5km, a perfect distance for a measured walk or run. As well as being a super convenient ‘country saunter’ it also forms part of the Etonbury Green Wheel. The Etonbury Green Wheel links Arlesey, Stotfold and Fairfield with publicly accessible green routes available to walkers and cyclists, whilst also providing links to the wider bridleway network for horse riders. Our shelter belt has long had issues with mud. It is lovely in the summer, and in dry times, but during our ‘rainy seasons’ some areas do become quagmires. Good for jumping in muddy puddles, but not particularly ‘user friendly’ to dog walkers, pushchairs, wheelchair users.
The Parish Council in conjunction with FPRA made a decision to try to improve the muddier areas and to widen the pathway in parts to make it a proper bridleway. Central Bedfordshire Council agreed to undertake this project and finance from the Etonbury Green Wheel funds was secured. Signs went up to inform nearby residents about the work. This would entail closing the footpath. The warning notices suggested for six months, but in fact the work was completed in two weeks.
Next time you wander along the western edge of the shelterbelt take note of the improved surface and extra width. And next time it rains, you can leave your wellies behind!