Last August my friend Hil Marshall suggested a walk from Chillaton in west Devon. I had never walked from there so was pleased to join her.
Chillaton is to the west of Dartmoor (about seven miles north-west of Tavistock), with deep river valleys and rolling green hills. The views to the moor are lovely.
It was only after we had set out that I realised I could tick off a couple of squares for the Ramblers’ Big Pathwatch. This requires you to select a grid square and walk every public path shown on the 1:25000 Ordnance Survey map, recording the good and bad things you find. It was easy to knock off a couple of squares (SX 4281 and 4381) on our Chillaton walk as we were walking every path depicted.
The survey made the walk more enjoyable, because we thought about the state of the paths. This was dairy-cattle country and there was too much electric fencing around the insides of the hedges: you had to duck as soon as you had crossed the boundary. However, there were many good features too—the wide views and the magnificent oak tree at the bottom of the hill.
We only walked a few miles, but the route had pleasant variety between open fields, scrubby bits and woodland.
The Big Pathwatch is the first comprehensive survey of all the public paths in England and Wales, and the results will give the Ramblers a good idea of the state of the network—essential information to support the campaign to get paths open.
The Big Pathwatch runs until 1 January, so it’s time to sign up and get walking!