Those who like to go walking may find they are seeing their local footpaths deteriorate, the Ramblers have said.
According to a report from the walking charity based on freedom of information requests, two-thirds of councils have cut their footpath maintenance budgets in the last three years, with 41% reducing budgets by over a fifth.
It named 11 councils where it is particularly worried about the decline in the state of paths, including Bolton and Bury in Greater Manchester. Neighbouring Lancashire was also listed in a case study as a major problem area, with cases of paths becoming blocked or overgrown doubling in the past two years, while funding and staff numbers have been cut.
Director of campaigns Nicky Philpott said: “These statistics show the disproportionate effect of council cuts on rights of way and the teams which look after them.”
One area where paths are getting some extra financial help is in the Yorkshire Dales.
The Lion Inn in Settle has been donating 15p from each of its Butchers Board platters it sells to the national park authority’s Three Peaks Project, which maintains paths around Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent.
At Pelican we argue that at a time when people are short of cash, good footpaths offer people a chance to enjoy low cost leisure activities as well as attracting visitors to the benefit of local businesses.