I’ve been helping out on the Walkers Are Welcome initiative, by surveying a little patch of England near to me, to check that all the paths, stiles, gates and access points are as they should be. I didn’t get a sheriffs badge but I did get a nice big map. And a sense of community spirit. The map I was allocated covered an area 1km by 1 km, so not huge as such but it allowed for a good inspection of the various paths and bridleways concerned .
I think there are 23 maps / squares to be surveyed and the average time to check each one and all the paths and bridleways, stiles etc is about 6 hours. As a volunteer grid checker I was given a laminated A3 map with OS squares centered on my 1km x 1km part. And using an indelible pen (naturally, this is rainy UK after all) I had to mark on any problems encountered along each path. That could include flooded areas, obstructions on a path, diverted paths, angry dogs on the loose etc. My area was pretty clear as it happens.
I went a bit gadgety of course and used my Viewranger App to mark out the paths and routes I checked for later reference. See image below for part of the route taken (other paths are marked in the central square that was ‘mine’ but just not shown in red on this viewranger snapshot).. I was still in checking mode when this snapshot was created.
Marsden is a great place to be based for walking. You get plenty of ‘hardcore’ hikers doing the Pennine Way, which glances off Marsden before heading north / south (depending on which way you do it of course), as well as casual day walkers (like me up on the hills). I think this initiative will only make the paths and rights of way crisscrossing the valley and surrounding hills even more popular, great for inward revenue for the area. I’ve noticed a lot of Marsden’s shops have W-a-W window stickers now.
And probably the same boost to local businesses in the other towns who have taken up the Walkers Are Welcome scheme.
If you’re local to Marsden or just want to know more about the specific Marsden initiative (and find some routes) have a look at the link.
Or here for an overview of the Marsden area shown on Walkers are Welcome website.
Related Books (sort of) Corner:
I think Walkers are Welcome is supported by Julia Bradbury who (coincidentally to this blog post) is launching a book about Wainwright’s Walks today/tomorrow (1st Nov), good on her for supporting it. And the Wainwright book looks good. And timely…
I’ve just (yesterday) finished Simon Armitage’s book on his North to South Pennine Way trail.. good book, read it (short review there for you).
Anyway – this is a great initiative, we should all exorcise our rights (or just to, you know, exercise) to walk the countryside / urban / historical areas around us and this grass-roots and community-led approach is top-notch I think.