The public path network is the jewel in Cornwall’s crown and it should be the best in the country. Instead it is being starved of funds, neglected and downgraded. The Ramblers in Cornwall are well placed to lead the campaign for a better deal for walkers and all path users.
And so, in my capacity as Ramblers’ president, I launched Cornwall Area’s Cash for Cornish Paths campaign at the Area AGM in Marazion last Saturday.
We must persuade Cornwall Council to put more money and resources into the county’s public paths. The council has a legal duty to ensure that all 2,765 miles of recorded paths are open and usable. Yet a large number of these routes are blocked, closed or have problems which make them difficult to use. They are governed by the same laws as our roads and lanes—if they were in the same state as the path network there would be an outcry, yet the paths are just as important.
The council is literally shooting itself in the foot. The paths are the arteries of this beautiful and splendid county. They are vital for local people, visitors, our health and well-being, the tourism industry and the local economy.
The Ramblers will form a task force to spearhead the campaign to lobby councillors to increase the path budget instead of cutting it year by year.
The Ramblers will team up with other path users—horse riders, carriage drivers and cyclists—all of whom need good paths, and will seek the support of tourist and health bodies and businesses, to make the case to county councillors who hold the purse strings and are responsible for the path network.
The Ramblers are already giving substantial help to the council with its practical path work team, REACT (Ramblers Environment Action Team), saving the council about £20,000 a year and opening up numerous paths, most of which had been blocked for decades.
As we know, paths give great value for money. A small amount spent on enforcement and opening up the network will bring pleasure to locals and visitors and encourage people to spend money in this lovely county.
It’s time to put cash into paths—it must be good news for Cornwall.