From the iconic Pennine Way to the South Downs Way, National Trails offer some of the greatest walking, cycling and horse-riding opportunities in the world. However, the Government is seeking to drastically change the way the trails are managed by handing responsibility over to Local Trail Partnerships.
As hugely important as local involvement is, without anyone overseeing these partnerships and championing the trails’ interests, there is risk of an enormous fall in their quality.
And it’s not just the intrinsic value of accessing our countryside and National Parks that makes National Trails so important. People using National Trails help support ailing rural economies. The South West Coast Path alone generates over £300 million a year for local businesses and supports over 7,500 jobs. If the quality of National Trails declines then we fear not only would path users lose out, but so too would the local economy.
A new national charity is essential to unite and coordinate this precious network for local, national and international users.
Sign the petition today and urge the Government to rethink its proposals for the future of management of National Trails and to make sure that National Trails remain our national treasures.
- Poul Christensen, Chair of the Board of Natural England
I believe a National Trails Trust is the best solution for National Trail. It would deliver a fantastic future for them by acting as a national champion and offering practical and strategic support for a network of Local Trail Partnerships working to maintain them at a local level.
A National Trails Trust could share best practice and give advice to Local Trail Partnerships as well as stepping in to manage a trail if a partnership were to fail – a safety net not provided by the Government’s current proposals.
A national body would also allow quality standards to be monitored and upheld, meaning a better experience for walkers and other users of the National Trails network in England, including horse riders and cyclists.
We urge the Government to rethink its proposals for the future of management of National Trails and to make sure that National Trails remain our national treasures.
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