I also suggested that, like the Teignmouth/Dawlish guide that this should be for areas that are not already well-covered by other guidebooks.
After all, do we really need any new guides – for a while – to the Lakeland Fells, Dartmoor or the New Forest? These areas are already very well covered.
There is no doubt in my mind that walking guides DO open up paths.
I helped the late Joe Turner survey the route for the Two Moors Way. The paths in the mid-Devon section were in a terrible state. Many completely blocked. They clearly hadn’t been walked for generations. We got out there. Mapped them. Cleared them (a mammoth task). Now they are walked by ramblers from around the world. B and B’s pubs and shops thrive because we did that task in a relatively unknown part of Devon. All the paths are walkable.
Kate Ashbrook has suggested that rambling groups should devote more of their walking to these lesser known areas. I quite agree. Walkers keep paths open. Every recce is a walking survey. Get out there! Claim back those paths!
So do find a quiet area near you. Look at the OS map and plan some routes. Get out there and do the walks. Chase up the highways authority if there are any problems with the paths. Then write the guide book. The Ramblers Association publish a leaflet on how to do it so look at their website.
And how wonderful it would be if the Ramblers could be persuaded to make small grants towards the publication of walks guides in areas where walking and the paths are neglected?