Four years ago a Cirencester Ramblers Footpath Volunteer surveyed all the public rights of way in the parish of Down Ampney. She found all the paths passable apart from the Galley Leaze path. This bridleway runs south from Down Ampney church across fields, around the old airfield runway, through a copse and comes out on the Cricklade to Kempsford Road.
The path was surveyed in detail by members of the Footpath Committee. The southern end of the path had completely disappeared and was impossible to follow. The matter was reported to Gloucestershire County Council.
Unfortunately this was seen as low priority and nothing happened. The following year the Path Maintenance Volunteers were established and GCC approached to explore the possibility of the PMVs taking on this task.
The land owners representative was approached by GCC and they indicated they would clear the path. Still nothing happened and then the ownership of the land was transferred. The path was checked again and was still impassable.
Early this year the Footpath Committee was at a meeting in Down Ampney when we were told the farm manager for the estate had a nearby office. Direct contact was made to the farmer who agreed to surveying the site and allowing the PMVs to clear the path. He even arranged for us to take our cars on the airfield, which saved us a two mile walk.
We had three working parties on the path, the brambles and nettles have been cut back, small trees removed and extra way marks installed. All together the PMVs have provided 88 hours of labour to clear the path up to a reasonable standard. The final working party was on 20th July when we were able to put up 'Path Open' signs.
As a bridle way it is open to walkers, cyclist and horse riders. We would encourage Ramblers to walk the route to keep the path open. If you look at the map you will see this could be part of an interesting route that could take in Eysey, the Thames and Severn Canal and return via North Meadow and Latton.