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Problems walking in Norfolk

October 3, 2012

Problems walking in Norfolk

Norfolk – The Weavers Way at Blickling

A few blogs ago I reported on a path at Banningham in Norfolk, ploughed over and never restored. I reported this to the Ramblers via their online path report form and I await the opinion of their local area.

Sadly, just from driving across this vast county, I know that that isn’t the only path in Norfolk that has been ploughed out and not restored, to the dis-benefit of both local people and the many ramblers who go there to walk. Away from the popular tourist areas and longer distance trails, Norfolk paths can be in a parlous state. Bad for walkers and the local economy.

Nothing new here.

When I lived in Norfolk, twenty years ago, the paths were generally terrible and there was little foot access to great swathes of countryside. I suspect it hasn’t changed. Many of Norfolk’s woodlands are out of bounds, being around the parks of private shooting estates. We have seen, recently, at Snettisham, challenges even to existing rights of way.

Yet, Norfolk, with its great open spaces, wide skies, beautiful villages, superb architecture, and generally dry weather, could be a wonderful walking county for ramblers. With all its paths open, improved access to woodlands, better promotion, walkers could bring lots of money into the hard-pressed East Anglian economy, keeping open pubs and shops, hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, with all the corresponding employment that would go with that.

Forty years ago many of Devon’s paths were is just such a state. The Ramblers Association area sought out local councillors and officials, spelled out the benefits of getting the paths open. These suggestions were taken on board and everyone benefitted. Today, around 95% of Devon’s paths are walkable, an outstanding record.

This could be done for Norfolk. The first project should be a complete paths survey by Ramblers. Every footpath and bridleway walked and reports made, just to gain some idea of the scale of the problem. All it takes is a couple of ramblers per parish over a couple of days. In the end walkers everywhere will benefit.

If you know of a path anywhere that is not walkable, please visit the Ramblers website and use the online path problem report form.  Don’t leave it to someone else!


One Comment leave one →
  1. October 3, 2012 9:05 am

    This happens all too often and not just in Britain. I was following a marked path few weeks ago and came across a huge pile of rubble. It had been put there to block the path. I had to go back to the road and take a loop round that path to rejoin it further on.

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