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Wanted—a national champion

April 10, 2013

I hope every reader will support the campaign for our National Trails. Let us not throw away the achievements of the past few decades.


The Friends of the Ridgeway’s debate last Sunday on the future of national trails was fortuitously timed.  It occurred a week after Natural England published its report The New Deal: management of national trails in England from April 2013.  So the debate was highly topical.

It was bright and breezy on the top of the downs at the Ridgeway Centre, Court Hill, near Wantage in Oxfordshire, where the friends held their meeting, right next to the national trail.  The friends had invited me to speak as president of the Ramblers, who have argued long and hard that the trails need an independent national champion.  The other speaker was Graham Bryant, national trail partnership manager for Natural England (NE).  Ian Ritchie of the friends was in the chair.

Graham explained what was happening about the 13 English trails, following NE’s review over the last two years and the publication of The New…

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