Tom Whalley from our Community Paths team talks about his family walks and how climate change affects paths.

I've been enjoying autumn outdoors with my son, talking about the impacts of climate change and having some puddle busting fun.

Children walking in autumn on a muddy path

Last spring I wrote a blog about how we’d been doing some litter picking as a family on one of our local paths. During the Coronavirus lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 we would spend our daily exercise exploring locally and finding paths. Since then, we’ve been continuing to use the paths in our local area for exercise and active travel. 

But as we move back into the autumn months and the weather is getting a lot wetter we’ve been noticing some changes to the paths.  With more people continuing to use them, the paths are getting muddier and muddier as the weather gets worse. With this in mind we set out to see if there was anything we could do about the problem.

We popped our wellies on and took a walk to see how our local paths were coping with the recent wet weather. We quickly found some puddles, and using an idea from 5 fun ways families can tackle climate change together we grabbed some sticks and set about doing some puddle busting. Using the sticks we dug some short channels to help the water flow out of the puddles and down and away from the paths.  With some of the bigger puddles we needed to use the heel of our wellies to help dig the channel – next time we’ll take a trowel.

With climate change happening across the world one of the ways we are starting to see the impact here in Scotland is with more extreme weather. 

Scotland is already quite famous for its rain but we are likely to see heavier rain at certain times in the year. This increase in rainfall will have an impact on our paths causing them to get muddier and muddier in places and in very extreme circumstances to even wash away the path surfaces. 

Next time you’re out on a walk on a rainy day see if you can do some puddle busting. Keep yourselves safe, and if the paths are very wet and muddy you could always report the problem to your Local Authority.

For more ideas to have fun and do your bit for the environment, take a look at our #AutumnPathDays resources, there are 31 activities, 5 ways to increase biodiversity and 5 ways to help climate change. Tell us what you get up to with your family for a chance to win a nature explorer kit and kids FitBit too. 


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