Monday, 12 November 2012

How to Make a Brand New Footpath

How easy is it to make a footpath where there has never been one before?

A few simple steps:

  1. Find out what people want
  2. Make it happen

So how did we know what people wanted? 

The answer came from the Troutbeck Village Association who first suggested the idea of a new footpath taking walkers off the busy A592 road and across fields instead.  This would not only make the road safer for all users but also create new circular routes around the village of Troutbeck.

So the community wanted it, for their benefit and for the visiting walkers.

How did we make it happen?

To our advantage the best route was entirely across NT fields, and the tenant farmer was happy for the path to be made, so we were halfway there already.

The route of the off-road path can be seen to the right of the road, closely following the hedge.  The first gate is opposite the car on the bottom left, and the last gate is opposite the hotel car park on the top right.

We decided that the path was best left un-fenced and un-surfaced because this didn’t impact visually on the landscape and would then be quicker and cheaper to install.

Roland and Ray with their experience of installing gates started the work in mid September and had all the gates, steps and fence improvements completed by the end of October.

The first gateway and the only metal one used as this was within existing railings.

The path was opened unofficially for a few weeks to see if any small adjustments needed to be made before the grand opening.

Naturally we invited members of the Troutbeck Village Association to the opening ceremony, along with the rangers and volunteers who helped make the path and a photographer from the local press.  The ribbon was cut at 12noon on the 1st November by a local resident, marking the official opening of the Troutbeck off-road path.

The opening ceremony attended by members of the Troutbeck Village Association and rangers.

The last step:

     3. Tell everyone about it!

This has been one of the many ways I have done just that. 

I have also spread the word via newspaper and radio station coverage, through local businesses benefiting from the path, by incorporating the opening into the Great British Walk festival held nationally by the NT, and finally, it will go on the latest Ordnance Survey map.

Ben Knipe
Area Ranger, Windermere & Troutbeck

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