Road to ruin

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

BARBED wire, bro­ken stiles, elec­tric fences, locked gates and un­traversable un­der­growth are just some of the prob­lems with the 140,000mile net­work of foot­paths in Eng­land and Wales, ac­cord­ing to the big­gest sur­vey yet taken on pub­lic rights of way, or­gan­ised by the Ramblers.

Some 14,000 miles of paths need im­prove­ment, ac­cord­ing to the char­ity, and 20,000 signs are recorded as miss­ing, with some of those in place ‘mis­lead­ing’. The best paths are in the Peak Dis­trict, where only 3% need im­prov­ing. How­ever, in Corn­wall, barbed wire is a prob­lem, like­wise over­hang­ing veg­e­ta­tion in Glouces­ter­shire, elec­tric fences in Wilt­shire and sig­nage in Shrop­shire. In gen­eral, routes are poor­est in the South-west, West Mid­lands and Wales, with Snow­do­nia the worst na­tional park.

The sur­vey was un­der­taken by 3,250 vol­un­teers, who, be­tween July 2015 and Jan­uary this year, walked every path in Eng­land and Wales.

In the same week that the sur­vey was an­nounced, landown­ers on Dart­moor were frus­trated to se­ri­ous com­plaint over cy­clists, campers, jog­gers and ‘the tread of thou­sands of feet’ chang­ing the moor’s land­scape at the ex­pense of the hill farm­ers who keep live­stock on it.

Marion Saun­ders, chair­man of the Dart­moor Live­stock Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety, com­ments that ‘this idle amuse­ment of mil­lions of visi­tors should not be favoured over tra­di­tional

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.