A new survey out today reveals that although more than half (56%) of the Country’s footpaths are well-kept and signposted, more than a third (35%) are in need of improvement and nearly a tenth (9%) are difficult or impossible to use.
The Big Pathwatch, the nation’s biggest ever footpath survey carried out by the Rambler’s Association saw citizen surveyors walk every path in almost half the total area of England and Wales recording more than 100,000 features including attractive views and interesting flora and fauna; and locked gates, barbed wire across paths and missing or misleading signs.
Just over half of reported features were negative (55%), with muddy, ploughed or potholed paths, unsafe stiles, gates or bridges, heavy undergrowth or overhanging vegetation. Many of these made paths difficult or impossible to use. However, 45% of features identified were positive, with attractive views topping the charts.
Nicky Philpott, the Ramblers’ director of advocacy and engagement, said: “It shouldn’t just be up to local authorities to ensure the upkeep of our paths. We all have a part to play in looking after them, which is why we want everyone to take responsibility for their paths. It can be as simple as regularly using your local paths. Get out and walk them. If you see a problem, use the Pathwatch app to report it and we’ll pass the information on to the local authority. Problems reported early that would be quick and cheap to fix can become difficult and costly over time.”