Why Do Paths Go The Crooked Way Round

 Photo taken by me - trees - Bruntwood Park Manchester
Preston, England
April 13, 2016 6:04am CST
I often use public footpaths and rights of way as short cuts to get from A to B and just to enjoy a scenic walk, but I do wonder why many paths meander and curve without going in straight lines when there is no visible obstruction to them doing so. With older paths, there may have been obstacles that have been removed since the path was laid or marked out but many new paths seem to twist and turn needlessly. The temptation is to follow the route the path ought to take and walk on the grass, and this in itself starts off unofficial footpaths. In Britain in open countryside, walkers have the right to roam though many keep to organized paths anyway, while a public footpath cutting through private land has to be followed, and this can lead to path used a lot being badly eroded in themselves. In Bristol’s Stoke Gifford, in the UK the Council government are so worried by erosion to stone footpaths that they want to charge runners and joggers a levy tax toll for running on the paths – a move rightly universally condemned by just about everyone not on the Council there. It is an unenforceable law criticising anyone moving faster than an average walking pace. You can imagine the court case defence statements; “I was being chased by a big dog, your honour.” Followed by “ you are guilty and so is the dog.” Our footpaths might meander, but nothing like the minds of our politicians. Arthur Chappell
15 people like this
12 responses
@jaboUK (53936)
• United Kingdom
13 Apr 16
Bristol Council wants it's head looking at. Do you think that paths may originally follow animal's tracks?
4 people like this
• Preston, England
13 Apr 16
@jaboUK animal track theory is a good one
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (157723)
• Switzerland
13 Apr 16
Are you kidding or is it serious? I cannot believe they want to tax those who run because of the paths erosion. I suppose that many dogs will be fined.
3 people like this
• Preston, England
13 Apr 16
@LadyDuck they are serious but the level of protest suggests they don't have a prayer
1 person likes this
@Asylum (48281)
• Manchester, England
13 Apr 16
I suspect that in many cases a newly laid path may follow the route of a previous one.
2 people like this
@Jessicalynnt (47895)
• Centralia, Missouri
13 Apr 16
maybe make some running paths too? lol
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
13 Apr 16
I have treated cycling lanes and bridle paths as footpaths before today @Jessicalynnt
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
14 Apr 16
@arthurchappell I used to make my own, growing up, here kinda stick to the side of the road, too much fenced off private properties
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
15 Apr 16
@Jessicalynnt that is the best way - if enough people follow a course it wears into a visible usable path after a time
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (41181)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
13 Apr 16
We have a thing in Manitou called the Incline, which goes straight up a mountain. It's very popular, and very crowded on weekends and during tourist season. The powers that be want to start charging people to use it, as do a lot of the residents. I think it's a bad move, but what do I know?
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (57178)
• Los Angeles, California
13 Apr 16
That sounds like a money grab plain and simple and you know what, it'll work because people will pay. That's what happened to all of California's state beaches. It costs a fortune to visit them and people happily pay.
2 people like this
• Preston, England
13 Apr 16
@JohnRoberts @teamfreak16 pretty scandalous to charge people to visit nature
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Apr 16
gigglin' :) yepperz, that makes no sense't all to charge a tax fer such. i like windin' paths myself. its meant to take one 'round 'n catch glimpses 'f the beauty versus jest walkin' straight through with nary a care.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
13 Apr 16
yes some winding paths do take us closer to better views
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7191)
• United Kingdom
13 Apr 16
That's funny, I have often thought that footpaths follow a more direct line than roads!
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
13 Apr 16
@Fleura many curve quite a lot often adding yards or miles to a walk - depending how far you travel and if you stick to the paths
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (57178)
• Los Angeles, California
13 Apr 16
A tax on joggers and runners? Why not just tax us for breathing.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
13 Apr 16
that's a matter of time @JohnRoberts
@AnneEJ (5013)
• Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, Quebec
13 Apr 16
Guess it makes the walk more interesting when it meanders a bit. Here we say, the person who made this path was following a snake.
1 person likes this
@marguicha (94877)
• Chile
13 Apr 16
To begin with, a beautiful picture! Paths tend not to follow straight lines. I wonder if in other times there was a small rock or anything as small as that that made them curve. That Countil government will reach the hifgest spheres if they are aping our politicians: the more feebleminded, the highest positions they reach. Our fault, of course. We elect them.
1 person likes this
@gudheart (12752)
13 Apr 16
That is silly! Anything to charge the public more money.
1 person likes this
@Inlemay (16559)
• South Africa
13 Apr 16
I shall not even begin to tell you about OUR politicians - I dont think they have minds?
1 person likes this