History, Market Drayton, Shropshire,

Enjoying our Public Footpaths

Public Footpath

One of the bonuses of Lockdown has been that more people have been out and about walking on their local public footpaths.

Market Drayton is fortunate that there are many public Rights of Way that are easily accessible and the paths have had more use than for many years.

A public footpath is often shown by a marker disc or a fingerpost, although sometimes these might be missing. Reference to a map or appropriate app will help walkers to plan suitable walks in our wonderful countryside.

Occasionally a path may be blocked by bushes or a stile, might be broken. Most County Councils have websites so that any problems can be reported. Public footpaths should be at least one metre in width and landowners are responsible for making sure that paths are not blocked by crops. Walkers should always try to follow the true line of a path and if this is straight across a field, then so be it!

Walkers often take dogs on their walks and these are permitted on paths, but must always be under control. Some landowners kindly install special gates for dogs to use which is much appreciated.

Many areas, including Market Drayton, have volunteer groups which work in conjunction with the County Council and these groups repair stiles and clear paths. Our local Ramblers’ group actively helps to keep paths in good condition for walkers.

Public Rights of Way were largely established just after the second world war and a public footpath can only be altered, diverted or removed by following a legal process, no matter how much use the path has.

So, take secateurs with you to snip around stiles, and remember “Once a footpath, always a footpath”.

John Wilkinson, Market Drayton Ramblers



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