A LANDSCAPE OF PEOPLE past, present & future
WORKING TOGETHER AS A LANDSCAPE COMMUNITY
HADRIAN'S WALL PATH National Trail Complementary Relief Routes
This coming Spring the National Trail will be ten years old, a decade during which huge benefits have accrued to the local economy from its international appeal.
This comical coaster a gift item on sale at the Lanercost Experience bears the legend 'HAD RAIN - Rome's wettest outpost'. Never has this been more true than during the last eighteen months. 2012 has thrown into stark relief serious issues of drainage and soil saturation, compounded by the poaching created by farm stock, their place in this landscape is as old and as integral as the Imperial frontier itself. Walkers have inevitably found the muddy going tiresome, and when this effects perceptions deterring them from coming back, that can impact on the economy.
However, of far greater importance are the medium to long-term effects to our cultural heritage of all this public access. Custodians of the landscape need the tools to defend such a national treasure. To this end I believe that we now need to modify our approach to this trail. By working with landowners and farmers we need to establish a new, more flexible pattern of walking that accommodates their working lives as well as taking a far more holistic view on matters of conservation and public access.
As a retired farmer I see this connundrum from both sides of the farm-gate. Hence I have begun the process of contact with landowners and others to see how we can work together, as a landscape community, where ideas can be explored in the spirit of a frontier fraternity.
My first priority is the establishment of a flexible infrastructure of complementary voluntary relief routes. I will be working with Harvey Maps to depict a pattern of route options that enable the National Trail Officer and his maintenance team scope to rest sections of the original trail. With magenta acorn waymarks guiding walkers onto adjacent paths, and where possible, green acorn waymarks ushering walkers on an entirely voluntary basis along more naturally durable four-seasons routes, all integral and complementary to the study and better appreciation of this remarkable heritage landscape.
This all will require the development of good channels of communication to reach and inform walkers, 'natives' and visitors, many staying in the area, to ensure as many people as possible are aware of the possibility of dynamic route management, the changes will be 'live and active' in sections of the route. I will prepare two-way route descriptions, aiming to develop this in more sophisticated ways as the process advances.
When the first Complementary Relief Route, or associated suite of such routes are agreed and waymarked downloadable PDFs will appear here SO WATCH THIS SPACE FOR NEWS!
The following images show various aspects of the landscape that can become part and parcel of the new-look National Trail. Not one path on the ground but a suite of routes that do proper justice to this amazing landscape and form a conservation corridor for the long-term best interests of all who live and work, or simply visit it.
Looking east from the Pennine Way, east of Cragend
Housesteads Crags from Cuddy's Crags - sublimely seen through an early morning mist (photo © Roger Clegg)
Hadrian's Wall milecastle 39 at Castle Nick looking to Crag Lough and Hotbank Crags