The dogblog part 2: the problem with footpaths

A dog's view of the countryside by Idris the Lurcher - part 2: why are so many of our footpaths blocked or missing?



Im back and this week I want to talk about the walks I take my followers on. Now Im lucky enough to live in Monmouthshire so theres lots of countryside for us to roam in. Although actually, not so much as were largely confined to lines through the woods and fields, which I call pawlanes but the followers call footpaths.


I and my followers would love to roam free everywhere but thats not possible unless we go to the hilltops, where its common land and open access. But then, there are always fun sheep to play with so we dont go there so much – more on my woolly white playmates in another blog.


So its footpaths for us. Most of them are okay, and, away from the villages, we never meet anyone. It seems you followers like to stay close to your kennels and your cars.


But the followers and me are getting increasingly annoyed by blocked footpaths. Sometimes in the woods old trees blow down and the followers can’t get by. Heres me sneaking under a fallen birch.

But my follower has a chainsaw so he opens up the footpaths from time to time. We look at each other and say: okay, thats nature for you – we can deal with it.


But much worse is when we follow the footpath arrow into a field and then theres no way out. I watch my follower unfold his map paper, look at the green lines on it, look puzzled and then look angry. No way out, he says. I hate that, because it usually means we have to clamber through brambles or over barbed wire to find the footpath again. The landowner seems to have forgotten to keep the path open. Theyre very forgetful at times.


And sometimes when we get confused, the landowner appears suddenly and asks us whether we are lost? Which is really kind of them. They often tell us that the path doesnt exist anymore. Which is really kind of them. I wish my follower wouldnt insist on arguing about the green lines on his paper – I hate conflict.


Sometimes we find a rusty bit of machinery in the way. We dont like that. At all. I got a nasty cut from one of these and had to be taken to the vet (Vicious Evil Torturer – though my follower, the traitor, seems to like her).


Worse still are the footpaths through farmyards. Here is a sign near us its a bit scary.


Sometimes we arrive at stiles that I cant get over so the follower picks me up – its so undignified. And stiles often have these signs saying that dogs will be strangled if they chase sheep.

(I never chase sheep. NO dog, unless it’s one of those collies that has trained its follower, should ever, ever chase sheep.)

I may sound a bit like a whiny little lurcher this week but if we dogs and followers dont use our pawlanes, theyll disappear. Then how will we get out into the countryside?

Fortunately the Ramblers have started something called Pathwatch, where you can report blocked or lost footpaths. But is there any money to solve the problem?

Love and woofs



PS : if you missed my first blog, it’s here