Fundraiser started to say thank you to landowner between Milverton and Warwick where hundreds of people have enjoyed walking during lockdown

The fundraiser is also being used to raise awareness of the impact walking on other people's land can have

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 6:08 am
Jonathan Marshall set up the fundraiser on behalf of the community to help raise money for the landowner's chosen charity but to also raise awareness of the impact walking on other people's land can have. Photo by Jonathan Marshall

A man from Milverton had started a fundraiser to thank a landowner for continuing to let people access a field between Milverton and the Saxon Mill pub in Warwick

Jonathan Marshall set up the fundraiser on behalf of the community to help raise money for the landowner's chosen charity but to also raise awareness of the impact walking on other people's land can have.

Jonathan said: "I'm a local Milverton resident and have been for the last 14 years.

Jonathan Marshall set up the fundraiser on behalf of the community to help raise money for the landowner's chosen charity but to also raise awareness of the impact walking on other people's land can have. Photo by Jonathan Marshall

"We are very privileged to be on the edge of town and enjoy the open spaces. In particular, we always enjoy what is fondly known as "the field" in our family - that is the field that connects Milverton over to the Saxon Mill restaurant.

"Whether it's for walking, jogging, going to see some of the nature (I particularly like the woodpeckers I've seen there), and of course sledging in the occasional snow that we get, we love the field.

"Then came along pandemic year 2020. The need to get out and get the kids out for exercise and fresh air was paramount.

"The field has become something of a community lifeline in that period. Talking with others, we've often used the phrase that it has helped to preserve our sanity.

"There have been some amazing highlights. In particular, in the heatwave of 2020, lots of people were using the field as a place to go freshwater swimming in the Avon.

"Apparently that used to happen back in the 70s, but not seen in recent years - until the swimming pools were forced to close.

"We can't help but notice that the paths used in the field are far wider than they have been in recent years due to the increase in footfall and the need to social distance.

"We were doing our best to minimise the impact, but I'm afraid it has been obvious.

"The farmer put such a respectful notice out on the gates to just raise awareness of the impact that this was having on their land but at no time have they closed this precious access for us.

"Talking with neighbours and others in the community, we just wanted to express our thanks and recognise this access as a privilege and not a right, which ultimately sparked the idea of a JustGiving page to both say a big thank you and also to continue to raise awareness of the impact."

The fundraiser was set up to raise money for the farmer's chosen charity - the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.

So far more than £1,400 has been raised.

Jonathan added: "I have realised through this how important it is to have an opportunity to communicate and engage with the land owners to understand the challenges they face and to be able to work together to reduce impact, whilst giving these benefits to the community.

"For me, it was never really about the amount of money that we raised for charity, but more to give an opportunity to send a message of thanks.

"If people would like to send their thanks for keeping this space open, then please do leave a message. As I say, whether you give £1, £5, £10 it doesn't really matter."