Friends of the Railway Path

Promoting and developing the Coate to Marlborough Railway Path

2012 Events

Ogbourne St George Workday - 14th October 2012

The day was fine, after a chilly start in which the rising sun melted a light frost and drew the mist from the ground and from the fence posts. A small group of us achieved a lot:

Grass Cutting

We cut grass and some encroaching weeds (mostly nettle) from a patch on the NW side of the path, about 40 yards long by 5 yards wide. We left 5 or 6 inches of grass over this area to protect invertebrates and removed the cuttings to the boundary where we piled them to make a dead hedge. We surprised at least one grass snake in the process. We hope that this patch, having had some nutrients removed from it, will start to regenerate as grassland with a higher diversity of grasses and chalk flowers. We also removed the remains of an old post and wire fence from this area.

Tree planting

On the south east side of the path, we planted small beech plants along a 20 yards gap in the boundary hedge. We used some of the grass cuttings as a mulch. Later, we hope to plant further whips, and later still to lay the resulting hedge.

Vegetation clearance

We cleared vegetation to allow access to a bench next to the small area of woodland just inside the gate. We re-fixed its seat and also cleared nettles from just behind the bench so now children (and anyone else who wants) can go into the patch of wood to explore a bit, and climb the trees. We cut back some of the overhanging branches and brambles to give a better view from the bench out across to the Downs by Ogbourne St Andrew.

Carpark Maintenance

In the car park we scraped away several inches of built up grass and mud back to hard surface, and cut drainage channels. There is now more room for parking cars and horse boxes at this access point, although more remains to be done.

We cleared vegetation and renewed the sign into the car park to make it clearer where this section of the path starts.

We removed all the litter which we came across: to my delight, there wasn’t much of this.

Our thanks to everyone who came to help.

Best wishes

Dick Millard

First AGM - 12th June 2012

18 people attended our Open Meeting and AGM on 12th June 2012. We were pleased to hold this at the newly-opened Three Trees Farm Shop and Café in Chiseldon, where the Path crosses the old Ridgeway.

The agenda was:

  • Talk by John Price (Richard Jefferies Society) on Local nature writer Richard Jefferies and the landscape around the Railway Path
  • Options for improving the path surface. Presentation by Alistair Millington (Sustrans, Area Manager for Wiltshire)
  • Chair’s annual report, and accounts. Follow link to read the report and accounts. (PDF File)
  • The history of the land around the Railway Path(Dick Millard, Chair, Friends of the Railway Path)
  • Projects on the Path which the Friends would like to undertake (Dick Millard, Chair, Friends of the Railway Path). Follow link for preliminary outline project definitions(large powerpoint file). Any feedback on these would be welcome. Please contact Dick Millard.

Workday - 20th May 2012

We met at the Barnfield Road access point to the path near Elcot Lane, Marlborough. In the dry but not too warm weather, we achieved a great deal.

At the Barnfield access point we:

  • Fitted a new arm to the Millennium Mile Post, pointing to Swindon and Cirencester and re-painted the arms
  • Fitted No Parking signs just outside the gate (to discourage parking on the verge)
  • Raked over a damaged verge to regrade, fitted an edging board and replanted with grass seed

At Poulton Down bridge we:

  • Removed ivy on trees at high risk of falling
  • Cut back sprouting on felled stumps either side of the bridge, to prevent re-growth and damage to the bridge fabric
  • Cleared round and swept off the mysterious rune-like artwork on the path further to the north

Between the A4 bridge and Poulton Down we cleared litter and tidied up, especially under bridges: and removed overhanging branches and new brambles at eye height.

We also handed out leaflets and stopped to talk to many cyclists, walkers, runners and horse-riders using the path.

Workday - 19th February 2012

Ridgeway crossing south of Chiseldon to Gipsy Lane

Thanks to all who turned up today. With weather bright, dry and warm after a cool start, we had a good turn out and achieved a huge amount and the 1.7 miles of track between the Ridgeway crossing south of Chiseldon and Gipsy Lane now has several improvements.


  • Planted native trees in gaps in defunct hedgerow just south of the car park, as a prelude to bringing sections of hedgerow back into management.
  • Cleared scrub from the edges of 3 patches of medium-diversity grassland to prevent it being over run, and cleared invading vegetation from within these patches. We piled what we cleared to provide habitat for small animals. See the attached pictures for before and after views of the patch just north of Chiseldon Firs.
  • Removed debris from the path surface (leaf fall, and left over from hedge trimming) over a 0.5 mile section around Chiseldon Firs to make cycling easier and keep the path edge from getting overgrown.
  • Cut back small trees where they were invading the bridleway, allowing horse riders more space.
  • Installed posts and signing at intervals between the Ridegway and Chiseldon Firs asking horse-riders to keep to the path edge.
  • Collected about 15 bags of litter.

Before tidy up picture

Some trees before the workday

After tidy up picture

... and the same place after the work was completed!

Open Meeting - 25th January 2012

First Open Meeting

We held our first Open Meeting on 25th January. Twenty six people turned out to the Calley Memorial Hall in Chiseldon, to discuss how the path could be made better and more enjoyable for users. Some were cyclists, some walkers and some were horse riders: and all of them knew about and used the path. Among the many suggestions made were:

  • Provide better signing (particularly through Chiseldon, and in Marlborough)
  • Develop better access for a variety of users (especially at the Marlborough end)
  • Identify parking areas for horse boxes
  • Give better views of the surrounding countryside (while preserving the habitat value of hedges and trees)
  • Make much more information available on the history of the path and the landscape which it traverses
  • Create more things to look at and do on the way

The committee will now start to develop a plan for what to do, and start to find suitable sources of funding. If you would like to suggest something, or comment on priorities, please contact us (details on the About tab)