A Lengthsman is a person who is in charge
of a particular length of road and maintains the verges adjacent to
it - by weeding and tending to the grass and hedgerows.
To find out how Worcestershire's Lengthsmen and women got
involved - and how you can too - go to Our Big Society.
In times gone by highways were generally maintained by the local
people looking after their own patch. An Act of Parliament
introduced in 1862 gave Parishes the opportunity to combine to
form 'Highways Boards', able to maintain local roads on behalf
of a wider range of residents. The first Local Government Act
introduced in 1888 created County Councils who then became
responsible for the maintenance of most highways.
Originally, Lengthsmen date from the time when road maintenance
was a very labour intensive activity. They were responsible for
maintaining an area or length of road, hence the name. In the
1960's increasing mechanisation and labour costs led many local
authorities to move away from locally based maintenance activities.
As a result, Lengthsmen disappeared taking with them the knowledge
of the local highway network, and the trust and understanding built
up with many residents in their local area.
In December 2002 as a response to increasing numbers of minor
road maintenance requests from residents, five Parish Councils in
Worcestershire were invited to take part in a Lengthsman trial
giving them greater responsibility and a budget for dealing with
local priorities. The trial proved to be a resounding success and,
as a result, the scheme has now been rolled out to 90% of
the Parishes in Worcestershire.
- The English Hedgerows
Full of information on hedgerows and
contacts suitable for learning more about the different activities
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This page was last reviewed 14 May 2013 at 11:36.
The page is next due for review 10 November 2014.