The Ramblers is calling on walkers to step up and help survey 140,000 miles of rights of way in England and Wales as part of its biggest and most ambitious footpath survey.
With an enviable rights of way network people can enjoy walking in England and Wales, the Ramblers needs people to step out and walk their favourite paths and report back on what they find using a smartphone app. Launching on 13 July, the Big Pathwatch is the perfect opportunity for people to get involved in protecting the places they love to walk.
Ramblers’ chief executive Benedict Southworth said: “Our path network is the envy of walkers around the world and one of our nation’s biggest assets. But there are sometimes problems that literally stop people in their tracks.
“As guardians of the path network we work hard to protect our paths, but we need a complete picture of the entire network. With the help of walkers everywhere, the Big Pathwatch aims to survey every right of way in England and Wales, giving us the comprehensive overview we need to then be able to solve any problems.”
Walkers will be able to download the Big Pathwatch app and share their experiences as they walk every right of way within a specific grid square. They’ll be asked to share the positive features of the walk, the beautiful views or interesting landscapes they see, as well as noting any problems they encounter.
The results of the Big Pathwatch will allow the Ramblers to create a comprehensive report on the state of the path network, which will be used to campaign for its upkeep. Where possible, Ramblers’ path maintenance teams will be heading out to fix problems found through the survey, clearing brambles and other overgrown vegetation, improving path surfaces and fixing bridges and gates.
Importantly, the results will enable the Ramblers to come up with other long term solutions to ensure the path network is protected for years to come. The Big Pathwatch is the only project that aims not only to walk every right of way in England and Wales to find out what state the paths are in, but also to help fix any problems.
Benedict added: “Walkers understand better than anyone just how important it is to keep our paths well maintained, and they already do an amazing job of helping with this just by regularly using our paths. We are hoping as many people as possible will go one step further and play a crucial role in protecting our paths by getting involved in the Big Pathwatch. ”
To find out more, or to register to take part in the Big Pathwatch, visit www.Ramblers.org.uk/bigpathwatch.