Britain's long-distance paths are at risk of being neglected under new government plans, the Ramblers has warned.
It has launched its Campaign for National Trails, warning that proposals to pass responsibility for the upkeep of such routes from central government to local trail partnerships could see some sections better cared for than others.
Such a situation could leave those who decide to go walking
along such routes facing poor quality paths in many places.
Describing the proposed system as "untested", the charity noted the local organisations would have to negotiate with highway authorities for a slice of limited budgets to secure the 25 per cent of funding not supplied centrally.
And it warned that there may be excessive red tape for trails that pass throughteh jurisdiction of a large number of authoritries, citing the Pennine Way as a case in point with the trail stretching through ten local authorities, three national parks and one Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Pennine Way, which was established in 1965, was originally conceived by walking access campaigner Tom Stephenson, who wanted to use it as a means of opening up the moorlands of the High Peak in Derbyshire.