Here is an extract from a letter I had published in a local paper a few years ago at this time of year–
WALK YOUR PATHS.
Regular physical exercise is recognised to be highly beneficial to us all, young and old. Gyms have sprung up everywhere and seem to be popular, at least a month or two after Xmas. However a brisk walk is as good a general exercise as any and it’s free and has little impact on the environment. We are fortunate to be within easy access of The Lakes and The Pennines which have a wonderful variety of footpaths, but is it really necessary to have to travel [usually by car] on our crowded roads.
Within a f
ew miles radius of Longridge there are literally hundreds of Public Rights Of Way, all interconnecting and reached from your front door. Walks can be planned from a couple of miles into the teens depending on you desire and time available. Most of the footpaths have been there for hundreds of years and are thus of historic importance to our locality.
The local network of paths is generally well maintained and signed, some [but not all!] farmers having made a particular effort in this direction. Several local walks are included in popular guide books and there is an excellent series of leaflets published locally and widely available. The 1:25000 OS maps show all the paths in detail and any amount of walking circuits can be devised.
So why are there so few people using the local paths? I rarely meet anyone off the roads. These paths need to be walked to preserve our unique national heritage. Come on you people of Longridge try a few of the field paths and you will be amazed at the amount of beautiful scenery and nature on your doorstep. Your health will benefit and the paths will survive into another century. Hope to see you out there.
Since that letter was written I think that more people are walking as a form of exercise and I do now meet more groups on our paths, so that is good. But the downside is in the last couple of years the wet weather, which has left our fields waterlogged. These last few months it has been no joy to walk in the local fields [see my posts] and even I have recently spent a few days walking on the local quiet roads, fortunately quite scenic, avoiding the mud and deep puddles.
Is it that the rainy climate is going to stay with us and if so what is the viability of some of our paths? I only hope I don’t have to write a letter in the next few years urging people to Walk Our Roads!