The Ramblers has revealed it is pleased that the northern section of the High Speed 2 (HS2) route will avoid national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Details of the Y-shaped section north of Birmingham were unveiled by the Department of Transport yesterday (January 28th), with one line heading via Crewe to Manchester and another between Nottingham and Derby and then on via Sheffield to Leeds.
These lines will pass either side of the Peak District, as well as missing Cannock Chase as they head north of the Birmingham area.
Another element of the development the Ramblers are pleased with is that a sustainability appraisal undertaken by HS2 has aimed to find ways to "avoid stopping up existing rights of way".
This could mean that where a path is crossed by the line, a bridge or tunnel could be provided to ensure those who like to go walking
on such routes are not denied the opportunity.
While expressing satisfaction that ministers and officials at HS2 have responded to concerns raised by the group in meetings, the Ramblers said it is still concerned that 150 paths crossed by the southern section of the line between London and Birmingham are at risk and it is waiting to see if bridges and underpasses will be provided to keep these open.
HS2 may not pass through national parks, but in time it may make it easier for walkers to reach them. Faster journey times mean people can travel from locations like London, far from the Peak District, Lake District, Snowdonia or the Yorkshire Dales, with the ability to reach Manchester, Leeds or Sheffield sooner and get connections more easily.
Ordinary branch lines do run into national parks, of course, so rail passengers can make good use of these now, without waiting years for HS2 to arrive. Examples include the Hope Valley line between Manchester and Sheffield, which stops at Edale - the start of the Pennine Way.
Manchester also serves the Lake District via a line direct to Windermere, while those boarding a train at Leeds to Carlisle will pass along the famous Settle to Carlisle stretch, on which four stations lie inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park and two more just outside.