David Gosling, Footpath Inspection Co-ordinator
This article is from Signpost 62, Spring 2020
Path Checkers is a new way of reporting footpath issues to PNFS, alongside but distinct from the work of Footpath Inspectors. The scheme is intended for people (both members and non-members of PNFS) who are not Footpath Inspectors but who would still like to report problems when they find them.
If you are someone who walks, runs or rides in the countryside, there is now a simple way you can report any issues you find affecting your right to use a footpath or bridleway. We hope it will appeal to all of you who care for our countryside and want to protect our precious freedom to access rights of way.
All too often when we are out walking, running or riding we find broken stiles, overgrown and obstructed paths and bridleways. Scenes like these are all too familiar.
Now there is a simple way you can tell us about issues such these.
The Path Checkers scheme will operate across the PNFS region. You don’t have to be a member of the Society to be a Path Checker, but we encourage you to register with us as a Path Checker (see below). The key idea is that someone with a smart phone who finds an issue can take a photo and send a report immediately from the location. All reports will be logged on a database and your report will be acknowledged. At PNFS we will do our best to get the issue investigated as soon as possible by one of our footpath inspectors, who will contact the relevant Highway Authority if he or she considers this necessary. We will tell you how the society is dealing with your report and when progress is made.
If you wish to register as a Path Checker you can do so via the webpage or by email to email@example.com. Please provide your email address, name and phone number, and your postcode would also be useful. Registration is not essential but as a registered Path Checker, you will have access to the Society’s Footpath Inspection Database. This will show you all the rights of way and whether the problem you have encountered is already on our database.
There are three ways of reporting a problem as a Path Checker:
From a smart phone
Firstly, you will need to install the phone app ‘OS Locate’. It is free and works on Android and iPhones. When you open OS Locate, it will identify your location as a six figure grid reference. OS Locate has a simple way of emailing the location with a photo. Incidentally it also gives your altitude and direction of travel.
Secondly, when you find an issue on what you think is a right of way, take a photo of the problem on your phone.
Thirdly, open OS Locate and click on ‘Share’ or ‘Share my location’ and then click on ‘Email’ and enter firstname.lastname@example.org. Most phones will remember this address for future use.
Fourthly, add a brief description of the problem such as ‘broken stile’ ‘path overgrown’ and add your photo.
Finally, include your name and a contact phone number if you wish. Then just click ‘send’.
Although most walkers and runners have smart phones with them, this may not be true of everyone. This is an alternative way of reporting what you think may be a problem on a path or bridleway.
When you find the problem out in the countryside, if possible, take a photo and note your location preferably as grid reference. When you get home send an email from your PC or laptop to email@example.com providing the following:
1. brief description of the issue
2. attach your photo
3. the location of the problem as a grid reference
4. your name and contact phone number (if you wish)
Via the form on the Path Checkers web page
Just complete the details on the form and press ‘submit’. The advantage of using the form is that you will automatically receive a reference number when you submit your report.
That’s it! It’s very simple. You can view these instructions on our website at firstname.lastname@example.org or download a copy of our Path Checkers flyer which you can share with your friends. The flyer is included with this issue of Signpost. Please contact us if you would like more copies. If you would like someone from PNFS to come to talk to your walking group about the Path Checkers scheme and/or any other aspect of the work of the Society please do get in touch via the pathcheckers email address.
Any questions or problems just email us at email@example.com
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