Fivehead and Swell map their path to fitness

Fivehead and Swell map their path to fitness


Fivehead Parish Council use Parish Online to plot walking routes, paths, playgrounds and public fitness equipment. The aim was to ensure the facilities were mapped and maintained and then publicise these assets to the public.

Parish Online has made this process easy for the council staff and now allows the public to engage with the local environment and improve health and well-being.



In response to Somerset County Council’s (SCC) grant scheme, Fivehead Parish Council designed a project to raise the visibility and accessibility of parish paths. The aim was to encourage more people to use them, enabling people to get more exercise and stay healthier. Keeping paths better monitored and maintained was also a challenge to ensure the project was sustainable long-term.

The primary aim was to improve the well-being of an ageing population; an important national theme.

The secondary aim was the preservation and maintenance of their major local asset – the footpath network.

Their Community Plan showed how much people valued open spaces, but it also highlighted poor signage of footpaths and obstruction/destruction of footpaths by agricultural activity and lack of use.



This project tackled all aspects creating a local environment that promoted walkability and getting outdoors. Here’s a summary of what they achieved:

  • Multiple layers were created in Parish Online for the different themes of information that they wanted to display.
  • An overview map of the parish was created showing all the walks and facilities produced as an overlay to the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale mapping.
  • Seven individual walks were mapped at large scale and printed on A4 sheets with details of the route, parking, stiles, dog bins, exercise kit at Playing Fields, refreshments, and QR Codes linked to extracts about local buildings from local history book and other sites such as SCC Roam Somerset website for reporting issues and the SCC Public Rights of Way webpages for additional information and links.
  • Holding of our bi-monthly village newsletter to publicise individual walks with seasonal highlights. Our annual Village Walk (open to all) will use the network of paths and, hopefully, define additional circuits.  The articles promote the benefits of exercise as part of the health education programme.
  • A feedback mechanism to ensure that maintenance of the pathways and prevent erosion of the network.
  • Screenshots of their walks created in Parish Online are now on their website to help local people.



"Parish Online has provided way to map our paths as linear features using Ordnance Survey mapping, APGB aerial photography and the SCC Public Rights of Way data layers.

This is a fascinating exercise as it can sometimes show a mapped route that doesn’t agree with the Rights of Way and bears no relation to the track visible on the aerial photography – we are looking forward to ground-truthing the routes.

We are using point features to map turning points and we will be adding textual descriptions and photographs for these locations.

Parish Online is providing a flexible tool that will enable us to publicise our information using a range of base layers. There will also be benefits in ease of updating and improvements to the maps.

We believe that our project will enable more people to get active, socialise and learn more about their beautiful local environment. Many people who live in our village do so by choice: they accept the distance from services in return for the environmental quality, and the opportunity for exercise and contemplation in the countryside is important in sustaining their physical and mental health and wellbeing."

Jill Wardle, Clerk to Fivehead Parish Council


About Fivehead Parish Council

We are the Parish Council for a small (c 550 residents) rural community in South Somerset.

Like many villages, our shop has shut, we lost our school, and public transport provision has halved. We are 10 miles from the nearest large town with facilities and places for entertainment. 10% of our population is under 18, 42% of our population is over 65, and 1 in 5 in the village lives alone. The project described here aims to help those most in need.


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24 February 2021


Health, Public Engagement
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