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Becoming a member

Would you like to become a LAF member? We are always keen to appoint new members so why not get involved and help shape improvements to public rights of way and access to the countryside. Interests that it is hoped to have represented by the Forum include:

  • walking, cycling, horseriding and recreational motor vehicle use
  • landownership and land management
  • accessibility
  • tourism
  • access provision
  • relevant professions

To apply to become a member, either contact the Forum secretary or complete the membership application form.

Current membership

Michael Orlik (Chair) is one of the country’s leading solicitors on highway and rights of way matters and now practices in Stratford-upon-Avon and writes regularly for the Surveyor and Rights of Way Law Review. Previously he worked for four different highway authorities for over 20 years including the position of chief executive of a borough council. He is a member of the Environmental Law Foundation and walks regularly in the Warwickshire countryside.

Claire Sangster (Vice-chair) is a business consultant. She has been a parish councillor and has been involved in the Parish Paths Partnership Scheme. She is a school governor and is currently Chair of the Warwickshire Governors Association.

Mike Murray is a Chartered Town Planner with over 35 years’ experience in countryside management and environment planning.  While working for Coventry City Council, he managed Coventry’s Countryside Project (Green Belt Management Service) for over 25 years and is one of the founding members of the joint Local Access Forum. Mike is involved in numerous environmental working groups, including Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and is also a long-term Volunteer Planning Consultant with the National Trust.

John Hall is a retired public rights of way officer having worked for Warwickshire CC, Birmingham  Council and Coventry City Council. He also worked for the Ramblers’ and the British Horse Society at their national headquarters dealing with regional and national matters respectively. He is a member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way Officers and is a founder member of this Local Access Forum.  He was also a founder member of the Ramblers’ Coventry Group and was their Group Footpath Secretary for 17 years.  His total experience to date is 34 years split between voluntary and professional work.  He is currently the Open Spaces Society’s Local Correspondent for the City of Coventry and was elected as a Trustee of that body in 2017.  He now deals with public rights of way, commons and town and village green matters. Johns’ interests include the balance of rights and responsibilities for all the above, between owners of land, local authorities and the public.

Steven Wallsgrove was formerly a Senior Planning Officer with Warwick District Council before taking early retirement in 2012. He was also the Ramblers Associations Area Footpath Secretary for their Warwickshire Area for 25 years, before retiring from that post, as well as being a Local Group Footpath Secretary for 40 years, before retiring from that post as well. His work with the Ramblers Association included researching and submitting numerous applications for DMMO’s for unrecorded public paths as well as much work on maintaining and improving existing public paths. He was also involved with the creation of the riverside walk through Warwick.

Vaughan Owen has been chair of Warwickshire & West Midlands Association of Local Councils which represents the views of local Town and Parishes. He has experience as a member of the West Midlands Regional Association of Local Councils, a member of the board of Warwickshire Rural Community Council.  He was also a Parish Councillor and is actively involved in rights of way preservation and retention of hedgerows in the local countryside. He also represented his Parish Council when interacting with HS2 Ltd. He continues to take an active interest in all matters associated with the Local Access Forum.

Sheila Cooper farms a flock of Category II endangered, rare breed Castlemilk Moorit Sheep, on her smallholding in Berkswell, near Coventry. She enjoys promoting and showing her sheep at agricultural shows in the Midlands and Southern England. She has also enjoyed a long-lived interest in Welsh Ponies. She was the founder Chairman/Secretary of the reformed Warwickshire Support Group for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and still sits on the Committee. She is also Secretary of the Castlemilk Moorit Sheep Society. She has been a Governor of the Royal Agricultural Society for over 35 years. Sheila is very committed to conservation in general and rare breeds and their “keepers”, in particular.

Joe Carroll gained a National Certificate in Agriculture at Warwickshire College of Agriculture and has experience in Milk production, beef, sheep and mixed arable farming, together with Agricultural Mechanisation. He is a freelance Access Consultant acting for various organisations and public bodies. Joe is an Inclusive Design Assessor for the Civic Trust and a keen conservationist, being interested in Ornithology particularly and natural history in general. He is a member of the SIA and the Centre for Accessible Environments and is keen to help to promote good access to the countryside for all.

Robin Hickin is the current secretary and National Rights of Way officer for the Trail Riders Fellowship and is a previous Director of Saltisford Canal Trust and Trading. His interests include Leisure Trail Riding and Rights of Way Improvement.

Gina Rowe is Head of Living Landscapes (Projects) at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.  She has worked at the Trust for over 5 years, developing partnership working, major funding and strategic approach to landscape-scale work for the benefit of biodiversity and engaging people. She has been involved in practical wildlife conservation with volunteers for many years at BTCV from 1985, from delivery of projects on the ground including access construction work, through to managing teams of staff and volunteers and to undertaking regional development work. She is chair of the Local Biodiversity Action Partnership and of the Local Wildlife Sites Panel.

Roger Stone has been a land agent and surveyor for over 50 years. He has previously been chairman of Warwickshire Branch of the Country Landowners Association and Branch Chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He helped with the waymarking of the Heart of England Way and has walked many routes including the Cotswold Way.

Sarah-Jane Cash

Andy Wright