Preserving your Past for the Future

 


Footpaths in the Parish


There are about 24.4 km or 14 miles of footpaths, bridleways, byways and green lanes which form a network of walks or rides throughout the parish. Many of these follow the old paths or lanes which linked outlying parts of the parish or to the village, and many linked up with other paths in adjoining parishes to take one further afield. They were in regular use well into the 20th century for children going to either the village school or grammar school in Kingsbridge, for people who walked or rode to their place of work, and for all those coming in to the church or chapels in the village. Several of the larger tracks went to mills in the parish - for example Knap Mill, Dukes Mill or Ashford Mill - or to lime kilns along the river or to outlying farmsteads and these would have been suitable for horses and carts.

The footpath to Bantham via Stadbury

Since the arrival of the motor car and delivery lorry most of these routes are now used only for recreational purposes, and in recent years have been maintained and improved by the parish, with the addition of stiles or kissing gates and boardwalks or stepping stones where necessary, and finger posts or waymark arrows to point the way. In 1994 Aveton Gifford Parish Council entered into an agreement with Devon County Council under the Parish Paths Partnerships scheme. This requires the Parish to survey all footpaths annually, and to undertake maintenance to keep them in good repair. Every year the Parish Council appoints a footpath representative to oversee all these paths and bridleways, and to liaise with the landowners over whose land they run. The paths are regularly strimmed and maintained, and encroaching vegetation is cut back. These paths are still important for the parish as one of the major attractions of the area, and are in regular use by visitors and locals alike; in 2011 the Parish Project Group arranged a "Making Tracks" Walking Festival, a four day event to publicise and promote our paths.

The Parish Project Group has published several leaflets and guides for walkers including Making Tracks, and an Ordnance Survey map of the footpaths in the parish can be seen on the notice board in Timbers car park.