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Protecting Countryside Access

May 20, 2011

My nearest Rambling group, the Teignmouth and Dawlish RA, has long had a system of individual members adopting the footpaths and bridleways in its area. The volunteers walk their paths a couple of times a year, reporting problems to the group and the local authority.

The consequence of this is that the public rights of way in its area are around 100% clear to walk.

I would like to think that all rambling and walking groups in Britain do something similar. Particularly in these cost-cutting times.

Devon County Council, over the past few decades, has done wonderful work opening up neglected rights of way, signposting, waymarking, dealing with obstructions.  It will be interesting to see if the millions of pounds cut from the county’s highways budget make a difference.

I hope not.

I have a really great fear that the present political elite will make walking in OUR countryside much more difficult. How long before they scrap the Countryside and Rights of Way Act? Or the Highways Act? Or the Wildlife and Countryside Act?

It has never been more important for country walkers to involve themselves in campaigning for access to our countryside. So please, do volunteer for organisations such as the Ramblers and the Open Spaces Society (see the websites). Walk your local paths and report any problems to these organisations and your local highway authority. Watch out for access restrictions in the countryside. Let me know of any problems you encounter and I’ll highlight them on this blog and my website.

The website www.johnbainbridgewriter.com has a lot more information on how you might help.

Why not take action this coming week?

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