As thousands of people headed out walking this bank holiday weekend, some of England’s greatest national walking treasures are at risk – warns Ramblers as they launch their appeal for National Trails.

From the peace and quiet of the Wolds Way to the buzzing city life of the Thames Path, from the rugged hills of the Pennine Way to the spectacular coastal views of the South West Coast Path – National Trails offer some of the best places to walk in the country. However, under new government proposals these treasured pieces of England’s natural heritage are to be handed over to hard-pressed local authorities and voluntary groups. If these proposals go ahead, it will leave the Trails without an organisation to champion them nationally, posing an enormous risk to their quality.

The Ramblers are launching an appeal in order to step up their campaign against these plans. The charity is calling on government to ensure that this national asset, which attracts 12 million visitors a year from around the world, pouring millions of pounds into the economy, has a national body to properly champion, support and protect them.
Celebrities and leading walking figures have already backed the campaign and now the Ramblers are calling on the public to lend their support.
Stuart Maconie, Radio Presenter and Author, said:
“I have walked several national trails. I’ve seen firsthand how they increase people’s enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of our countryside and how much they benefit the economy by attracting tourists from across the world. I am therefore very concerned about any moves that will affect their upkeep, access and quality. I hope Natural England will make a sensible decision with regard to this. These are precious assets hard won and we should cherish them.”
Janet Street-Porter, Journalist, Broadcaster and Vice President of the Ramblers, said:
“Our National Trails provides some of the best walking opportunities in this country; under no circumstances should they be compromised. I fully support the Ramblers campaign to secure the future of these national treasures.”
Rhiannon Wadeson, Ramblers Senior Campaigner, said:

“Put simply; National Trails are a national asset and need a national champion to secure their future. By fragmenting responsibility and handing them over to cash-strapped local authorities, who are already struggling to maintain local footpaths, the government puts at risk an important part of our national heritage.

“We need the public to join us in our campaign and tell the government that our National Trails deserve a national champion.”
To find out more about the Ramblers Campaign for National Trails see: www.ramblers.org.uk/nationaltrails.

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