Proposals to trim funding for footpath maintenance among government spending cuts have been attacked by the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society Kate Ashbrook.
Speaking at the launch of the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival
, Ms Ashbrook said: "This fortnight's festival
demonstrates just how valuable public paths and access land are for the life and livings of rural communities."
The deterioration of such facilities could have negative economic effects by deterring visitors, she argued, suggesting that local authorities should give a high priority to maintaining paths for people to go walking
Not to preserve paths would be "shooting us all in the foot".
As well as paths in the south Pennines, there is concern that the English Coastal Path - a provision of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 - will not go ahead amid budget reductions.
The Ramblers has launched an online petition over the issue, which it hopes will gather enough signatures to persuade ministers the creation of the path must still take place.
Posted by Brandon Egley