Location, location, location

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A good location for a path can make a difference in many ways – whether the network can cope with changing weather patterns and use, or even whether people will want to use the path at all.

When looking at options for where to put new paths, or how to replace or upgrade existing ones, think about:

The surrounding land use

  • Check whether there are any land management activities that could cause a problem for some or all users

  • Consider whether land management activities could have a physical impact on the path – cattle can damage paths by poaching the surface; woodland plantations provide shelter but windblown trees could be a hazard

  • Look at the local authority's Local Plan for development to see if there are planned developments – there may be opportunities to include new or better paths within planning proposals

The landscape

  • Make sure the proposals do not adversely affect the character of the local landscape – ensure that paths follow landscape features rather than cut through them or go straight over the top. For example, take the path around the side of a hill, rather than up and over it so that the path will not be seen

making the path fit the landscape

Making the path fit the landscape...

  • Check whether there are any particular features of interest that could enhance the path – viewpoints and vistas provide opportunities for interpretation, as well as a good location for a resting place

The path corridor

  • Negotiating a narrow strip of land for just the line of the path might not give you enough scope to account for design problems or space for different users – fitting a path within a wider corridor gives better opportunities for management and can help to prevent conflict between different user groups and improve the people's experience of the path

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