Slow map: Mapping Britain’s intercity footpaths

This is a fascinating piece of work (see link below) trying to recreate walking routes which have all but been forgotten

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54562137

Unless you’re someone who owns Ordnance Survey maps, which detail every public right of way/public footpath, and you know how to read them then even your local footpaths may be all but unknown to you.

I love studying maps, particularly OS maps, and I usually buy one for any place/area we are visiting around the country. My interest will often be to identify safe cycling routes but I used to do a lot of walking before taking up cycling and these maps provide loads of useful information both activities. So what’s the problem, why do such routes need to be redefined?

The problem is that often whilst the vast majority of public footpaths are marked on the ground by finger pointing signs, not all are. Additionally some that are marked don’t make clear where they go to – look at this example:-

In fact this sign is at the end of Millbank Lane on the Maghull/Aughton Sefton/West Lancs boundary and its pointing to a path which leads to Butchers Lane in Aughton but when you walk the shortish distance along the path there are no further signs pointing the best way to anywhere at all.

Now here’s an example which both makes clear where the paths go and how far the destinations are:-

Walking and cycling destinations from within Rimrose Valley Country Park.

Local Borough and District Councils are responsible for public rights of way and some are better at it than others in defining and maintaining them as I’ve found after many years of walking all over the north of England. But what in my view is almost never made clear along these routes/paths is what is the best way from A to B be it Maghull to Town Green or anywhere else. This is probably because the knowledge about footpaths and walking routes was at one time well known in all communities and this information was shared generation to generation as walking to work, shop and school etc. was pretty much the only way to get there. Now in the world where most of us go virtually anywhere in a tin box on wheels the use of these routes has declined and the knowledge about them is in few hands.

I like this project as if it’s successful it will have so many benefits to the environment and indeed our individual health if we regularly walk and cycle short to medium length journeys (subject to us being physically able to of course) instead of jumping into the Audi on the drive. But like the need to make many thousands of miles of safe cycling routes across the country this walking plan will need significant investment in mapping, signage and maintenance and for a society that has only thrown crumbs from the table of motoring towards such things for generations it will be a huge change in transportation policy which politicians will fear to implement because of the all-powerful motorist lobby.

Merseyside – Rights of Way Improvement Plan

I mentioned this subject back in August; here’s a link to that previous posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/30/liverpool-city-regions-rights-of-way-improvement-plan-your-views-wanted-by-merseytravel/

I now hold a summary of the responses that were made to Merseytravel who are coordinating this piece of work for the Liverpool City Region:-

Summary of Responses:

Consultation on the draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2018-2028 was undertaken over summer 2017. Copies were available to view on Merseytravel’s website as well as at council one stop shops and public libraries across the Liverpool City Region. The consultation closed on the 29 September 2017. There were 26 responses received on this consultation. The majority of responses were supportive of the draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan. Key issues raised in the responses included:
• Well maintained network
• Insufficient short term schemes
• Links across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) and locally
• Managing conflicts between different users
• Inclusive high quality network
• Better prioritisation of schemes
• Monitoring and evaluation
• Consultation on detail of individual schemes with relevant stakeholders
• Funding
• Consistent standard across LCR Rights of Way network
• Definitive Map continuous review
• Anti-social behaviour
• Resources such as dedicated Rights of Way Officer needed in each Council
• Issues with wider Highways and public realm issues rather than Public Rights of Way and clarity with other public access routes
• Joined up network of bridleways for equine sector
• Proposals for new schemes
• Consultation process and access for non-internet users
• Availability of Rights of Way information both on internet and for non-internet users
• Clarify access for public to Definitive Map via Council Offices
• Linkages with land use and spatial planning
The responses are now being taken into account as the Liverpool City Region partners update the document and prepare the final version. The final version will be published in late March 2018.

A tribute to Dave (Mr. Lydiate) Russell

No this is is not a obituary, Dave is still very much alive and kicking but it is a tribute to a man who has done so much for Lydiate over the past 25 years or so. I made mention of Dave in part of a recent posting about the recent local elections but here is a more detailed tribute to him.

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Dave lost his seat on Lydiate Parish Council in the recent elections and whilst this is the way things can go once you stand for public office I was genuinely shocked that my fellow Lydiate residents (in Lydiate North Ward) decided to show Dave the electoral door so to speak.

Dave and Pam Russell

Dave and Pam Russell

Dave has been Chairperson of Lydiate Parish Council for as long as I can remember and with his lovely wife Pam is a leading light in the Maghull & Lydiate History Society. Here are just a few things that Dave has done for Lydiate:-

* He led the campaign to get Lydiate Village Centre built together with the then Clerk to Lydiate Parish Council and Andrew Blackburn. In doing so they brought in a £500,000 lottery grant.
* Dave has been passionate about the upkeep and maintenance of St Catherine’s Abbey and has been pushing and shoving all kinds of organisations to do their bit to help preserve and maintain this famous local Lydiate landmark.
* He started Lydiate Civic Day which has now been taken over as Lydiate Festival.
* As a passionate walker he has campaigned for the upkeep of the local footpath network.
* Dave is also a passionate about Lydiate as a community and has fought to retain it’s unique semi rural nature and character. Battling against property developers and Sefton Council he led the Parish Council to become a prominent environmental campaign group.

I really don’t know why the good people of Lydiate North Ward decided to ask Dave to leave and close the door after him but whatever the reason’s I think all we Lydiate residents owe Dave a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless campaigning for the community he loves. As a Parish Councillor Dave did not not get paid for his work, he did it because he thought Lydiate was worth fighting for.

Whatever you decided to do next Dave do it with the knowledge that we think of you as a good and decent man who more than did his bit for Lydiate – Mr. Lydiate is indeed the right title for you.

Maybe in 25 years another Mr Lydiate will have come along – Let’s hope so.