Summer Walks analysed

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Sad it may be but I’ve done it anyway, plotted on a map the start point of all LFA walks which appeared on the summer 2014 programme (excluding Tuesday long walks because details are not available). There were walks each Tuesday, Wednesday (short plus long), Thursday and Saturday twenty six of each making a total of 130 walks. In addition there were fourteen mid summer Monday evening walks and thirteen Tuesday long walks making a grand total of 157 walks.

Summer Monday evening walks used a section of the Leicestershire Round

Summer Monday evening walks used a section of the Leicestershire Round

Evening walks this year were spent ‘Going round the Round’, with start points at villages on the Round and usually part of the Round included on the walk.  Numbers averaged about ten with a good mix of walkers from the normal walking days.  The greatest attendance was 18 for the walk from Newtown Linford at the start of August, when Brian R’s tour of Bradgate included the history behind the war memorial and information about how the park was once used regularly for training racehorses.  Next year will feature another set of walks from the Round, filling in the gaps from this year.

Despite some criticism that LFA walks use the same pubs and same paths repeatedly I have been surprised by the variety and spread of the walks.

Leicestershire Footpath Association - Tuesday walks summer 2014

Leicestershire Footpath Association – Tuesday walks summer 2014

The information for Tuesday walks wasn’t complete at the time of writing this report but the map shows a good spread of start points. It’s hardly surprising that some locations have been used more than once but only the Wednesday walks have repeated visits to two pubs during this programme. The other duplication has been by the different groups within LFA.

The map shows Wednesday short walk start points

The map shows Wednesday short walk start points

Each group has spread their walks around Leicestershire and all have wandered occasionally into adjoining counties. There have been no far flung destinations this summer. There are some neglected areas and I’m sorry to appear negative about Wednesday but their short walks overlooked north west Leicestershire this summer.

Map of start points for the Wednesday longer walks, summer 2014

Map of start points for the Wednesday longer walks, summer 2014

In their defence Roger W says ”  Having checked your maps it seems to me that members choose walks within approximately 10 miles of home, as we have a spread of members around the county most areas are covered, most members who do short walks are not in the Hinckley, Lutterworth areas but a few who do long walks are, as can be seen from your maps. On the short walks we have averaged approx 18 walkers with a max of approx 32.”

Leicestershire Footpath association Thursday group walks summer 2014

Leicestershire Footpath association Thursday group walks summer 2014

The Leicestershire Footpaths Association’s walks programme has grown over the years. In early years members walked on Saturday afternoon, after work and avoiding church attendance on Sundays, or perhaps because public transport, on which they relied, closed down on Sunday. We then started Tuesday walks, followed by Wednesday. The most recent group to set up walks on Thursday so I am especially impressed that their start points show a good coverage of Leicestershire but they are also willing to explore elsewhere.

Kate P who organises their programme has done a good job and says “That’s a very interesting map and we do seem to have covered a very wide area. Although we often revisit the same pubs (actually, not that often) we rarely cover the same footpaths. I know one or two people have said we shouldn’t base our walks round pubs, but we find the lunch at the end of the walk is a very sociable occasion and has done a lot for the cohesiveness of the group.” Kate adds “I am off to France to do some walking there. Great footpaths but hardly any walkers. They seem to prefer cycling.”

Traditionally LFA have walked on Saturday

Traditionally LFA have walked on Saturday

The Saturday walks were originally the mainstay of the Association, they did look like falling by the wayside but Vanessa and now Bob have done a good job to attract new walkers to the group. The walks are usually a little longer than the mid week walks and are not based on a pub lunch. Hence the start points can be from any village and a longer journey is acceptable.  Bob says “My diary shows the average number on walks was 13 with a maximum number of 20.”

Looking at the combined picture, LFA walks have shunned Melton district, the area north east of the A606 (Nottingham to Oakham road) is untouched territory in this programme. Two other areas also show neglect, the M1 corridor north of Markfield and to the far west the villages south of Ashby have been ignored.

 

Map showing the start point of all walks on the Leicestershire Footpath Association walks programme summer 2014

Map showing the start point of all walks on the Leicestershire Footpath Association walks

On the positive side I was surprised to see both the Tuesday and Saturday groups had walks starting from North Kilworth an area I have recently discovered to be a bit barren of footpaths. Jim M has long complained about a path from Bitteswell that stopped abruptly at Magna Park. With few other paths serving this pretty village it is good to see a new link has been provided. Well done Jane D for putting on a walk here.

This analysis shows there is no serious concern about coverage of our local paths but we should bear in mind the founding aim of the Association to protect all the footpaths of Leicestershire. So when you next plan a walk try and find a path that needs a bit of TLC and some boots on the ground.

 

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