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Best Feet Forward for Borough Boundary Walk

Ribble Valley Mayor Michael Ranson
Ribble Valley Mayor Michael Ranson
Published Thursday, 05 June 2014

Ribble Valley Mayor Michael Ranson is to revive an ancient custom by walking the borough boundaries to raise cash for charity.

He is to ‘beat the bounds’ by walking Ribble Valley’s 85-mile boundary during his mayoral year.


He will undertake the trek in 20 sections ranging from four to six miles starting on Wednesday 4 June.


And he is inviting Ribble Valley residents to join him in the walks and raise cash through sponsorship for his chosen charities, Ribble Valley Crossroads Care and Homestart Ribble Valley.


Councillor Ranson said: “Ribble Valley is one of the most scenic and picturesque boroughs in the country and I am delighted to be walking its boundaries during my mayoral year.


“I hope to put a modern twist on this ancient tradition by raising money for my chosen charities and invite residents to join me in any or all of the walks.”


The walks have been devised by Ribble Valley Borough Council’s health development officer Barrie Williams.


Twenty treks cover different sections of the borough boundary and a reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required to take part, although at least one of the walks will be accessible to mobility scooters, pushchairs and wheelchairs.


The first walk takes place on Wednesday 4 June, leaving the Gamecock pub in Whalley Road, near Great Harwood, at 5.00pm, and making its way to Sabden.


Forthcoming walks: 25 June – Nick of Pendle to Downham, 9 July – Downham to Rimington, 16 – Rimington to Gisburn, 23 – Paythorne to Tosside, 6 August – Tosside to Gisburn Forest, 20 – Coat Rakes, Gisburn Forest, to Skaithe Road, Gisburn Forest.


All walks start at 5.00pm and are linear, so participants are asked to make car-sharing arrangements.


A full programme of walks is available from Barrie Williams on 01200 414484.

Beating the bounds


  1. ‘Beating the bounds’ is an ancient custom still observed in many English parishes. Its roots go back to mediaeval times when parishes reaffirmed their boundaries by processing around them, stopping at each boundary mark to pray for protection and blessings for the land.
  2. At Manchester in 1597, John Dee recorded in his diary that “with the curate, the clerk and diverse of the town of all ages, he did perambulate the bounds of the parish taking six days in all.”
  3. ‘Beating the bounds of the town’ takes place in Bodmin, Cornwall, every five years, after the custom was revived in 1865 by Mayor of Bodmin William Robert Hicks.
  4. ‘Perambulation of the town borders’ is a civic duty of town boards of selectmen, the equivalent of a town council, in the American states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
  5. Beating the bounds traditionally took place during Rogationtide, the fifth week after Easter, or after a new mayor's first civic service.
  6. Beating the bounds is regaining popularity as a way of strengthening community and instilling a sense of place.

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