Purssell Path Improvements

Bob Lewis and Jane Campion, The Wendover Society  |  Published: Apr 18th 2017

The Wendover Society owns the Purssell Path, which is a strip of land running from the edge of the Ashbrook Play Area down to the Canal.

In days gone by, this was originally part of the route of a former Railway line, which ran from Wendover Station to the RAF Base at Halton. This Railway was known affectionately as the “Puffing Billy track”. Operations commenced during World War I, but the Railway finally closed in the 1960s. Following closure, the land that formed the route was then sold off piecemeal to a large number of people. The Purssell Path section passed to the Wendover Society from the Estate of the late Mrs Enid Farrow. The idea of this bequest was to offer some form of protection from unwanted Development.

These days, the land is used as a Public Footpath and a Nature area. The Society does its best to look after the fringes of the Path. The surface of the Path is the responsibility of the Highway Authority (Bucks County Council). By last Autumn, the Path itself had become very overgrown, and hardly passable in some sections.

Knowing that Bucks CC were not going to do anything about the state of the Path, a team of Society Volunteers spent many hours clearing the Path. After that considerable effort, with many Volunteers being aged into their 70s or even 80s, the Society took stock - and determined that there must be a better way of keeping the Path fit for purpose.

The objective of the recent improvements has been to create access for a tractor, so that in future maintenance can be more easily done by tractor, rather than by hand work. Wendover Parish Council kindly gave the Society a Grant, to cover the cost of most of this work. A number of local people have again helped as Volunteers, to keep the cost under control. Particular thanks should go to Robert Duggan (former Chair of Wendover Parish Council), Colin Riley, Jane Campion, Sandy Smith, Ian Hanson, Ian Gosling  and  others. A local Farmer has been employed to remove trees that were beyond our ability, to excavate tree roots and to create the gated access. The Society has also worked closely with Bucks CC, in order to determine the official Definitive Footpath route.

The new access will have to be kept locked, in order to deter unauthorised access for motorcycles and other undesirable vehicles. The Purssell Path is a Footpath only, not even a Bridleway.

Regular users of the Purssell Path have taken a keen interest in progress, and been very complimentary about the work undertaken. Hopefully, the end result will be a more attractive Path, which can be more easily maintained in the future.

path entrance
Entrance to the Purssell Path, near Ashbrook Park
path to canal
The new gate and cleared section near the entrance
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