Path management, information and comments

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This part of the amber survey is 'qualitative' and designed to help path managers to understand issues relating to the management and potential development of a path.

Work urgency

This is the urgency with which work is required to prevent damage or further damage occurring to the path in its present condition. The urgency should be consistent with the assessment of path condition, and essentially summarises that information. An index score can be used: 1 = extremely urgent, gross damage imminent (or already occurring) if no action is taken; and 5 = path reasonably stable, improvements are of low priority. A high score should be allocated if a path is currently in reasonable condition but likely to degenerate rapidly if no pre-emptive work is undertaken.

In terms of time scales:

1 = high priority: work should be undertaken within the next 1–3 years

3 = medium priority: work should be undertaken in the next 3–5 years

5 = low priority: work may be required in the next 5–10 years, often depending on the results of monitoring information.

Work urgency is not necessarily a priority rating. Other factors will influence priority, such as availability of funding or importance of a path in terms of network connections and popularity.


As the amber survey is a quick survey method it is not designed to provide specification details. To simplify matters, prescriptions can be categorised into a list of treatments required, such as upgrade existing path, construct new path, etc. The list of treatments can be adapted to specific management styles and the needs of different geographical areas. The amount of each prescription is also required and you can calculate outline costs for budgeting purposes from this information.

Site access

The ease of access, or not, for plant and equipment, and distance from the nearest road or vehicle track for hauling materials to the construction site where the path being built will have impact on the cost of works. It may also dictate whether certain path construction methods are viable if there is no way to bring in the relevant plant, equipment and materials.


Include any information not collected elsewhere which is important in terms of path development or management. Also note any useful reference points.

Include notes about the availability of suitable on-site materials, alternative alignments, etc. Comments about the site conditions should include any localised conditions that have not been clarified elsewhere. For example, an erosion problem caused by a burn overflowing or a path section with a peat surface and short aggregate section might not have been previously noted.


Photographs are a key component of the amber survey and are best stored digitally. They provide a visual record of path condition and setting and you should include three or four images for each section surveyed. Take note of the location and direction in which they were taken.

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