Teignmouth and Dawlish Ramblers circa 1987
In 1987 local members of the Devon Area of The Ramblers Association, as it was then known, saw a need for organised walks at a time when there were few, if any, walking clubs in Teignmouth and Dawlish. They placed an advert in the local papers asking interested parties to a meeting in Bitton House and this resulted in a very wet inaugural ramble on Little Haldon Hill in September 1987. The Teignmouth and Dawlish Group of the Ramblers Association was therefore formed by old and new members of Ramblers Association who funded the Group. This has meant that membership of the Group has always been linked to membership of Ramblers nationally.
From the beginning the Group was a very active constituent member of Ramblers protecting local rights of way and campaigning for the protection of and better access to our countryside. Group members subsequently adopted all of the footpaths and bridleways around Teignmouth and Dawlish, checking they were all walkable and reporting back to County Hall if there are problems. They also played a part in getting the Countryside and Rights of Way Act on to the statute books and have attended public enquiries to defend threatened paths.
Over the years the group has organised a wide variety of walks covering Dartmoor, the South West Coast Path and the lowlands of Devon that incorporate areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Two Moors Way long distance trail has been completed twice. The group has also arranged walking holidays in this country and in Europe, normally one of each per year. Many thousands of miles have therefore been walked improving both physical and mental health for hundreds of people.
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary in 2007 the Group devised and produced an 18 mile long circular walk that encompasses all that Teignmouth, Dawlish and the surrounding villages have to offer in terms of scenery. Nearly 2,000 copies have been sold.
When the Group started in 1987 the World Wide Web had still not been devised. Twenty years later the Group started with a website that was revised and updated in 2012. This aims to promote the Group as well as to attract visitors to Teignmouth and Dawlish being maintained in such a way as to ensure that search engines see that ‘Walking’ and ‘Rambling’ are linked to the two towns with weekly up dates. The web site averages nearly 100 visits by different people every week it being estimated that over 50% of these are non-members. In 2017 we took the opportunity to join Ramblers-Webs who are hosting our uniquely designed web site with in a Ramblers designed template.
The Group’s 25th anniversary in September 2012 was the reason for another challenge; the production of a book of 25 walks around Teignmouth and Dawlish. This was published in 2013 and over a thousand copies have been sold bringing income to the Group and the two towns.
All this activity has been supplemented by regular social activities. Barn Dances, Quizzes, Meals Out, Theatre Visits, Two associated Book Clubs, etc. Consequently many long-term friendships have been made some resulting in partnerships and even marriage.
At the AGM in 2015 it was agreed to look at the pros and cons of leaving Ramblers to become an Affiliated Walking Club. A sub committee then prepared a detailed paper. They took into account the costs involved and the fact that many members were happy with the status quo and that the Group could be split in two. They therefore came to the conclusion that an Affiliated Group, largely free from Ramblers influence, would not be viable.
The Group therefore continues in the spirit of a walking group with a strong social element.