The other day I blogged on our walk across High Rigg to St John’s in the Vale. I mentioned we walked back to Legburthwaite along a very old Lakeland track.
In fact, one of the finest lower paths in the Lake District, through some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in the country.
An old path too, one used by drovers centuries ago. Walked by parishioners making their way to the little church at St. John’s. Perhaps even by pilgrims in times agone visiting the holy well of St John, which you may still see in the churchyard.
A fine path, contouring the eastern slopes of High Rigg, gaining or losing just a few yards of height as the walker makes the journey. It runs gradually down to Low Bridge End Farm, where a sign at the boundary gate welcomes walkers – and how good that is to see, and then down to the St John’s Beck.
While the fellwalker in Lakeland by instinct seeks the heights, it’s important to value the delights of the lower slopes as well.
I am sometimes asked why I’m so determined that we should preserve the original lines of our rights of way? Asked why we should always resist closures and diversions?
This is the sort of track I use to demonstrate my argument.
Our paths evolved over centuries, sometimes thousands of years. They follow the most logical routes anyway,so why bother to alter them? Footpath officers should resist the outrageous demands of the landowners and bureaucrats who would “rationalise” our beloved network of footpaths and bridleways.
For only by keeping to the original line can we walk in the footsteps of our ancestors and preserve our footpath heritage for future generations. And that, wavering footpath officers who may be reading this, is NOT militancy. It’s just common sense.