As published in the Goole Times:
Nationwide path project for local rambling club
Members of the Goole and District Rambling Club have been hard at work in recent months taking part in a nation-wide project to map out all England and Wales’ public rights of way.
The Big Pathwatch project sees members of ramblers clubs across the UK map out all of the UK’s paths a square kilometre at a time with the objective of celebrating and preserving paths, as well as highlighting any problems that may occur.
So far members of the Goole and District Ramblers Club have checked and surveyed just over 90 square kilometres of paths out of around 24,000 nationwide, covering a wide area which stretches from Barmby on the Marsh towards Howden and the surrounding area.
Approximately 12,000 priority sample squares have now been surveyed.
Robert Watson, Committee Member at the Goole and District Rambling Club, said: “Before the project started, there wasn’t any picture of paths in the area and the public rights of way. Now we have recorded them all and used the specially built app to submit data and comments on the areas we have walked, it means there is a record of the condition of paths and it is known when they need maintenance and preservative.
“It is as much about the region’s heritage and historical paths as it is making sure there are still places for people to enjoy rambling and enjoying the fantastic countryside.”
It is hoped that having a database of paths across England and Wales and a picture of which are in need of improvement will lead to the UK Ramblers Association, which acts on behalf of ramblers clubs nationwide, being better able to lobby for increased funding to preserve public rights of way.
Robert said: “We also contact Howden and Haltemprice MP David Davis, who is a really seasoned rambler and a big advocate of the countryside, to ask for his support and we got a great reply.”
Mr Davis wrote: “Having completed the Coast to Coast about 15 times and the Wolds Way twice, as well as lots of other shorter walks, I am in no doubt about the benefits of walking. I also completely agree with you, walking Britain’s magnificent countryside is one of the best ways to get, and stay, fit. It is therefore essential to protect this important asset.
“Our network of public rights of way plays an important role in this effort, so the Government is simplifying the process of recording them to ensure no historic rights of way are lost. Work is also ongoing with Natural England to establish the England Coast Path.
“It is also important to ensure that our countryside remains inviting to visit. To achieve this, the Coalition Government published the first Natural Environment White Paper for 20 years and established a proper strategy to promote nature, Biodiversity 2020. £7.5 million has been provided to establish 12 Nature Improvement Areas, providing space for wildlife to thrive, and 150,000 acres of priority habitats are being created.
“In addition, over 11 million trees were planted in the last Parliament and the Government plans a further 11 million in this one. England’s woodland cover is now expanding at a rate that has not been seen since the fourteenth century.
“The progress the Government has made shows our commitment to protecting and promoting the great British countryside for the present and for the future.”
There is still some as-yet unchartered square kilometres of land in the Goole area, and the Goole and District Rambling Club is looking for extra people to help them increase the amount of surveyed land in the area, as well as enjoy the social aspect of enjoying the region’s wonderful countryside.