Author Topic: Learning from where feet have trodden?  (Read 520 times)

barewirewalker

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Learning from where feet have trodden?
« on: 14:51:47, 30/01/21 »
How much can we learn from the tracks left by others? The incidence of Peripheral Urban Trespass on my side of town was very interesting to follow in the 1st lockdown and revealed a great social need that would add valuable facts to anyone with responsibility for Access related matters.

I suppose I have some trackers instincts left over from a countryside childhood, curiosity tends the lead me off the righteous way on frequent occasions so naturally I follow the trails where other do it and try to think out their motives.

One area we walk is a 70 acre wood extending along a sandstone escarpment, mostly steeply sloping ground, but with a few outcrops, quarry faces and possible ancient copper mining workings. Beneath a mixed canopy, though mainly coniferous trees, there is extensive rampant Rhododendron well aged. When this area started to be walked, from rights of way that give partial access, paths developed that extended around the periphery. Developing housing in the nearby village has increased the footfall and I do not know of the official status of the area but it has been quite interesting to observe how the footpath network has extended.

Random ways have developed challenging the density of Rhododendron growth and this has been supported by some cutting back of heavier growth. Ways have been found into the heart of the escarpment revealing the summit of a knoll and the tops of crags. These ways are primarily lateral from the peripheral original route and finding the core features of the escarpment so long hidden by the dense undergrowth. Yesterday our last visit revealed some weakening in the vegetative growth to be able to start joining the main features of the ridge into a linear central route that follows the dogleg shape of the woodland.


In another topic I showed how footfall had created rights of way that seem to be on the wrong side of a hedge. My inference that this indicated popularly generated ways in the the past seemed to have little support, yet leisure walking in the Pim Hill wood seems to be finding features and destinations more in keeping with popular needs today.

Mrs BWW and I came back from that short walk of just on 2 miles both physically and mentally refreshed.

Back closer to home, where we walked in the 1st lockdown, a fresh crop of privacy signs have sprouted up well inside the area of assumed privacy, footfall has not gone unnoticed by this astute landowner. Has the reasons for that footfall produced any deeper thinking?

Pim Hill escarpment has long been in my mind a part of the Shropshire Sandstone Trail, a route that should follow a clear line of Geology as does the Cheshire Sandstone Trail. The new features being revealed there would add stunning quality of way to such a route.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

pleb

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Re: Learning from where feet have trodden?
« Reply #1 on: 18:31:48, 30/01/21 »
This month I went local permitted walkies and saw some  "buildings and woods private " signs that weren't there in spring.
But the long derelict buildings are clearly a health and safety worry. You can see from the path worn in the undergrowth that people stray off the path.
GET ORRRFFF MY LAAAND

shortwalker

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Re: Learning from where feet have trodden?
« Reply #2 on: 19:17:55, 30/01/21 »
I have always felt walking woods was different from walking "other land" whilst I will always try to walk PROW in other places. in woods I will often just wonder "at-will" Unless signs say stick to footpaths.



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Dodgylegs

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Re: Learning from where feet have trodden?
« Reply #3 on: 19:55:52, 30/01/21 »
... in woods I will often just wonder "at-will" Unless signs say stick to footpaths.


In woods around here 'stick to footpaths', literally means you stick to the muddy footpaths! :D

barewirewalker

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Re: Learning from where feet have trodden?
« Reply #4 on: 10:38:16, 31/01/21 »
This month I went local permitted walkies and saw some  "buildings and woods private " signs that weren't there in spring.
But the long derelict buildings are clearly a health and safety worry. You can see from the path worn in the undergrowth that people stray off the path.


One of the signs that clearly show the attitude of the occupier is the use of such notices. A genuine warning of danger does not have to be a denial of access. It is quite clear from CLA publications that 'Third Party Liability' and increased insurance costs have been used as a means to gather support for anti-access attitudes.


I have always felt walking woods was different from walking "other land" whilst I will always try to walk PROW in other places. in woods I will often just wonder "at-will" Unless signs say stick to footpaths.

Clearly in the in the Pim Hill woods what may have started as random walking, has led to the discovery of features, hidden by Rhododendron growth. These features are important for the understanding of the nature of the escarpment, but their exposure has increased the 'feel good factor' for anyone using this area for amenity walking. Gradually the understanding of random walkers of the geography of the wood as a whole may lead to the development of a third linear route between the two paths that follow the outside edges.

 
In woods around here 'stick to footpaths', literally means you stick to the muddy footpaths! :D

The signs in the Pim Hill woods show a local community interest, which may be the reason for subsequent path clearance in the denser vegetation that reveals organized clearance. Where there is a shooting interest or a more developed landowner profile these wanderings are often discouraged by placing brushwood to discourage the development of trails.


In walk design destinations or features are originators of trails. Leisure walking is more likely to be dominated by features than destinations.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

barewirewalker

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Re: Learning from where feet have trodden?
« Reply #5 on: 16:01:48, 01/02/21 »
The charming nature of the trails on Pim Hill is their tentative and erratic approaches they take to achieve their objectives, with no direct sight-line, the ways seem to deliver the objectives by accident. These trails remind me how the footfall extended around the fields closer to home, tentative curiosity has led someone to a bank of primroses never seen from the legally trodden way, but the hint of an old forgotten way has lured the less timid to find a hidden gem. The waft of bluebell scent may have lured others deeper into a plain piece of woodland, guarded by signs denying access to discover the side the where the spring sun has awakened the wood from it'd winter drab. As the path got trodden down to reveal a more welcoming way the bluebells gave way to yellow flag, caught in the early summer sunlight it gave a glow to the watery willow bed, that lured the erring footsteps further and more often so a broad expanse of gold, there to be discover,  massed bed of marsh marigolds.


How many found their flagging spirits lifted by these sights last year, did they save a trip to the pill box or psychiatrist, the footprints they left have resulted more notices of outraged property violation, yet these trails do not damage.


I wonder if we talk enough about where we might wish to walk.
 
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

barewirewalker

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Re: Learning from where feet have trodden?
« Reply #6 on: 12:11:31, 02/02/21 »
Sorting through these meaningless meanders in the Edgelands of my home town, Shrewsbury, it is possible to see a route of some potential importance. The footfall does not suggest it is a route, but by recogising a 'launch point' and a 'destination' it is possible to see a way that has significant purpose. The destination is a railway crossing in quiet countryside and the way between them is a 'corridor of countryside' of very much higher quality than that of the existing rights of way in the area. The existing right of way could be described as a Primary Way because it provides a direct route through the Edgelands to the countryside beyond (with purpose).

If we were to understand a language that brings together all the motivations to use countryside access then perhaps it would be easier to challenge some of the less logical claims for Private Land.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.