The Parish Lengthsman Scheme

The History

The term Lengthsman, coined in the 1800s, originally referred to someone who kept a “length” of road neat and tidy, but Lengthsmen were used on canals and railways from the beginnings of both. On roads, Lengthsmen were responsible for a few miles between adjacent villages and sometimes their duties encompassed the village itself. Employed by local parish councils, their job was, amongst other things, to keep grass and weeds down in the verge and keep drainage ditches clear. Litter, such as it was in those times, was collected and even wild flowers were tended to. Parish Lengthsmen were deployed in Hampshire until the late 1960s.

Reintroduction of the Lengthsman in Hampshire

In 2011 Hampshire County Council looked to reintroduce a modern day version of the Lengthsman and funded two pilot schemes. The scope of the work undertaken by the Parish Lengthsman included County, District and Parish Council responsibilities. Working in partnership, Hampshire County Council, and Parish Councils nominated and paid a Lead Parish in each pilot area to administer and co-ordinate the scheme on behalf of the other partners. Grayshott Parish Council is the Lead Parish.

Headley Parish Council signs up to a Lengthsman Scheme

The Lengthsman scheme has been rolled out across Hampshire and in 2014 Headley Parish Council signed up to a local scheme working in partnership with 8 other local Parishes.

What does the Lengthsman do in the Headley Parish?

  • Cut back vegetation and overhanging branches on rights of way and pavements
  • Repair stiles
  • Paint the swings on the Village Green and Standford Green
  • Remove graffiti
  • Clean road signs & cut back vegetation
  • Clean bus shelters
  • Apply wood preservative to public benches, bus shelters and play equipment