Volunteers help point the way in the Bedfordshire countryside

Image: North Beds Ramblers
Image: North Beds Ramblers

Have you ever wondered about the bright yellow-topped way markers you might encounter on a walk in the Bedfordshire Countryside? How do they get their yellow paint, how do they get into position and what happens when you see one that is either rotten or broken?

Not all counties have yellow-topped way markers – certainly, none of our northern neighbours do, but if you are a regular walker, you may well be aware that they are so much easier to spot than just a plain post.

As part of North Beds Ramblers, we are well used to scanning the horizon for our yellow friends to confirm that we are heading in the correct direction.

Bedford Borough has over 900 km of footpaths, bridleways and byways so imagine how many posts are distributed along those kilometres.

Sadly, wooden posts do not last forever and they need to be replaced. This is down to the work of Bedford Borough’s Rights of Way team who work hand in hand with local landowners and volunteer groups, including the Ramblers, to try to keep our Rights of Way in good order and well-marked.

In the past, posts were supplied to the Council pre-painted but a few years ago that stopped and in stepped the local Ramblers.

Ramblers’ members volunteer for RIPPLE (Repairing & Improving Public Paths for Leisure and Exercise) and as part of this activity, we are the first step in preparing posts for deployment.

A small group marks up the posts for painting and applies three coats of paint – two of which are the bright yellow you will be used to searching out.

These posts are then taken out to the various localities where more Ramblers’ volunteers – along with other volunteer groups and landowners – “plant” them in the appropriate positions. Our group of trusty volunteers are in the process of painting the latest batch of 50 posts bringing our total to over 400.

So next time you see a lovely yellow-topped post – spare a thought for those who spend their time painting and deploying the posts.

If you see one that is broken you can report its location on the Borough website, ideally with a picture on “Report a problem on a public right of way”.

If you would like to get involved, or just walk, please contact North Beds Ramblers on northbedswalks@gmail.com. We don’t just paint and deploy posts, but also carry out path clearance, stile repairs and install gates. It’s a great way to help keep all our Rights of Way in good
order. Remember Ramblers don’t just Ramble.

You can find out more about North Beds Ramblers on our webpage here or on our Facebook page and our weekly walks within Bedford Borough are featured in the Bedford Clanger’s What’s On Guide, which is published every Thursday.

Come and see what you are missing.

by North Beds Ramblers