Protecting our access rights – our paths, our future!
The path network across Wales has been underfunded for years and we have been receiving increasing reports that it is becoming less and less accessible at a time where more and more people are exploring the outdoors.
As we re-emerge from the pandemic, Ramblers Cymru are launching a campaign calling on the Welsh Government to support a green recovery by investing in paths and access across our nation to boost health and access to nature.
The Put your foot down and make a mark campaign will collect pledges from the public backing their call for action – www.ramblers.org.uk/ourpathsourfuture
Angela Charlton, Director of Ramblers Cymru said:
“We believe that people should not only have the right to access the outdoors but should also have the right to know where they can access it. Missing and broken signage and blockages on the paths are becoming all too common obstacles to the enjoyment of being outdoors.
“The path network is part of our cultural heritage, connecting communities and providing us with the all-important health and wellbeing benefits we need.”
Ramblers Cymru would like to see the equivalent of 10 per cent of the active travel budget allocated for public rights of way improvements, which would go some way to helping the local authorities tackle the problems on the network.
Alongside this, they would like to see a monitoring system in which local authorities are funded to monitor the paths, showing a clear idea of the condition they are in and where the most extra investment is needed.
In a survey by Ramblers Cymru taken last Autumn, 90 per cent of respondents reported that they had experienced problems accessing public rights of way, with missing signs, overgrown and blocked paths amongst the main issues. Previous research in Torfaen and Monmouthshire had already revealed that almost 50 per cent of the signs for access to public rights of way were missing or damaged.
Having been declared a national asset by the Welsh Government, our path network needs to be protected and monitored properly, so we can build a healthier nation where people are connected to nature close to their communities, say the campaigners.
Angela added: “We want to be part of the solution and are already working on projects that support volunteers and local councils to take ownership of local paths, but so much more needs to be done.”
Following the campaign, Ramblers Cymru will be submitting the pledges to Welsh Government in the autumn.
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