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 Act Local page.
If you have any questions about this scheme you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Worcestershire Hub on 0845 607 2005.
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.