Roaming the Lake District and the wider UK countryside is our right – we must fight to preserve it.

Roaming the Lake District and the wider UK countryside is our right – we must fight to preserve it.

19th February 2021

Our rural rights of way need to be reclaimed and protected, but time is running out..

As Covid lockdowns drag on, and full spring is still some way away, it’s inevitable that thoughts should turn to getting outdoors.

Travel and tourism are a mainstay of the British economy, accounting for about 10% of jobs and nearly 10% of GDP. Walking, cycling and generally spending time in the countryside are among our favourite pastimes, spanning everything from high-end glamping to quick local walks with the dog.

Below the surface, though, some important questions linger: whose countryside are we talking about? Who exactly controls the rights of way that we walk and run along? How should we reach, access, enjoy the countryside?

These questions used to be thought of as straightforward, but in reality they are not.

The national parks act which includes The Lake District National Park, was also supposed to lead to a definitive map of rights of way in England and Wales, with local councils drawing up a draft version within just three years, but the whole process was far too complex to administer, let alone finalise.

The Ramblers walking charity’s Don’t Lose Your Way campaign, is currently mobilising volunteers to scour records and the landscape for lost paths, or rights of way that soon might be lost in England and Wales. They’ve already found 49,000 miles of them.

You can help with that project by volunteering with Don’t Lose Your Way, or joining third sector groups such as the Open Spaces Society.

Read more : The Guardian

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