Upland Path Use Survey
Scottish Natural Heritage recently published a report of users' views of paths
in the hills (Survey of Upland Path Users in Scotland 2017). There were around
2400 responses to the survey, reflecting a wide range of often conflicting opinions
on the three themes addressed which are:
- people's experiences of upland paths;
- people's perceptions of the importance of upland paths;
- people's views on maintenance.
While space precludes a detailed analysis of the findings, the following may
be of interest:
- Considerably more people think that the condition of upland paths has improved
in recent years than consider that it has declined.
- Compared to other areas, paths in the Cairngorms National Park area are
deemed to be 'good' by the greatest number of people; however the Carn Liath
path on Beinn a'Ghlo (now being repaired) is singled out for particular criticism.
- There is very strong support for continued investment but this is balanced
by concerns that paths can reduce the 'wild feel' which people seek.
- The survey gives little consideration to the possibility of constructing
new paths in upland areas.
- Unsurprisingly, opinions are divided as to the desirability of increased
signposting/waymarking. Overall, the report tries to present the findings
without bias; however, by highlighting the finding that 34% of respondents
support increased signposting/waymarking without emphasising that 48% are
opposed to this, the report's authors seem to be straying towards a preference,
unacceptable in a report of this nature.
In broad terms, NEMT's position is that:
|A well-made path on Millstone
Hill © George Allan
- there should be no new paths created in open upland areas;
- well used existing paths should be maintained, as far as possible using the
'light touch' principle;
- while some signposting/waymarking may be justified in woodland areas, there
are a number of strong arguments against this in open upland areas.
The report is available online
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