Fol­low the French

Country Life Every Week - - Letters To The Editor -

YOU ex­alt that in­vi­ta­tion to bliss, the foot­path sign, and then cite the Ram­blers’ com­plaint about the num­ber of paths now over­grown (‘For the love of foot­paths’, Novem­ber 23). As a life­long walker, in­clud­ing on the Con­ti­nent, I have to say it is the signs, not the un­der­growth, that are the dis­grace. It’s near im­pos­si­ble to walk even the great longdis­tance paths with­out a map and with­out get­ting lost.

The rea­son is that ar­chaic fea­ture, the sign­post. There are never enough and they have of­ten been re­moved or de­faced by farm­ers or van­dals. The Welsh coastal path is a mys­tery. Fol­low­ing a foot­path in Bri­tain is an in­vi­ta­tion to con­fu­sion, fury and tres­pass. Small won­der they get over­grown.

In France, ev­ery path is marked by a painted flash on a tree, a gate or a wall, in red and white or yel­low, de­pend­ing upon sta­tus. Un­like wooden signs, this costs noth­ing to erect and is im­mov­able and un­avoid­able. Even wrong turn­ings are marked with crosses. It’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to get lost.

What is the mat­ter with the Ram­blers? Signs are not the is­sue— just copy France. Si­mon Jenk­ins, Lon­don W8

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