Public footpaths are one of the great things that this Country has to offer. I have discovered them this past summer, and enjoyed them throughouly.
They are "public rights of way" open to everyone, and can be roads, paths or tracks, and run across towns, countryside or private land.
Usually, they are signed with green arrow- shaped signs, so you can spot them from the road.
They are fenced, and the entrance is marked by a wooden gate or a "step" (stile), as you can see below. I remember the first time I met those, I was a little puzzled and had to ask if I could enter.
Users of the public footpaths, are invited to follow the Country Code, a list of rules that was published and often revised by various organizations in the UK, but the most widely accepted version is the one published in 1981.
Though these are just "common sense" rules I have been known since I was a little girl in Italy, when my Mom and Dad used to bring me to walk in the mountains, anyway I'll quote the main rules here:
- Enjoy the Countryside and respect its life and work
- Guard against all risk of fire
- Fasten all gates
- Keep your dogs under close control
- Keep to public paths across farmland
- Leave livestock, crops and machinery alone
- Take your litter home
- Make no unnecessary noise
|Stiles, or "steps".|
Entering the public footpaths may be awkward, so it's recommended to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Acrobatics are often required ;) but in the end, it's so worth it.
The views you can enjoy walking along the paths are always breathtaking. You feel like you stepped out of time, and what you perceive around you are just peace and silence. I always come home with a ton of fresh ideas after a walk like that.
They are all well mantained by the owners of the land (public footpaths often wind through private lands), but there may be times when the grass is not mowed, so wearing wellies or boots is a necessity.
|A cross body bag is recommended!|
|During Autumn and Winter, better to wear Wellies! ;)|
|Finally found a way to wear Wellies (because I cannot fit my trousers into the boots if they don't have adjustable calf, and with short Wellies trousers keep coming out)...|
|... Wear a pant skirt or breeks! No more muddy trousers. Yay!|
|You may get acquainted with the local dwellers, too!|
Never enter a public footpath when there's a bull in there, or cows with little ones.
|... and naturally, come home with gorgeous posies of country flowers!|
Never damage plants (better to have a secateur with you if you plan picking) and never pick protected species.