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Thread: Who pays for upland path repair

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Dear All,I am conducting an online survey of hillwalkers and climbers opinions regarding footpath erosion and how its repair is funded. The work is being undertaken as part of an MSc dissertation at The Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, Scotland. The survey is completed by clicking on the following link or pasting into your web browser:

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XVRQPFR

    Thanks very muchfor your help,

    Dotterel.

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch
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    I'm puzzled by Dotterel's request for information.

    The organizations that maintain public paths are not a matter of opinion but of record and can easily be established. They include national parks, the National Trust, The National Trust for Scotland, highway authorities, the Ramblers' Association and there must be others that I cannot recall offhand. Some, like national parks and highway authorities have statutory duties to maintain rights of way, whereas others, such as the National Trust, do it for the public good.

    There are academic studies, research papers and dissertations that Dotterel would find useful and I suspect that the Countryside Recreation Network (CRN) and the Institute of Public Rights of Way Officers (IPROW) could help point a researcher in the right direction.



  3. #3
    Ultra King Matt C's Avatar
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    Hugh, surely there's a difference between knowing/researching what the 'right' answers to these questions are and researching what the outdoors public's perception of the situation currently is and what they think the 'right' answers should be? I thought the questionnaire was attempting to do the latter.

  4. #4
    ‹bermensch
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    I can't help feeling that the questionaire is poorly designed. For example England and Wales have a different legal system from that of Scotland, so what might be appropriate north of the border would not necessarily be so to the south, but there is no provision for reflecting this difference.

    Some of the questions are impossible to answer. Consider #23 where the respondent is asked to express an opinion on the main cause of erosion. Several choices are offered, but only one can be answered, and every hillwalker knows that the main cause in one area may differ from that in another. I'd guess that the main cause of erosion in parts of the Yorkshire Dales is 4x4s whereas, in oher areas such as the Three Peaks, it's excessive use by walkers.I've completed other questionaires posted on OM but this one appears to me to contain too many questions that are not specific enough to answer in any meaningful way.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Well, I completed this questionnaire because I'm a lecturer and am happy to help any student who asks for it. I didn't think it was as bad as Simon and Hugh did; ok, some of the questions could have done with square boxes rather than round ones for mulitple responses, and I have no idea what a 'bed tax' is (sounds entertaining though ). But it didn't take me very long to go through.

    Good luck with the project, Dotterel.

  6. #6
    Ultra King
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    As a student yourself Simon, you should know that the questionnaire design will have been submitted and approved by the relevant academic authorities. Rather than criticise its design wouldn't it be more helpful to Dotterel to just fill in the questionnaire?

  7. #7
    ‹bermensch RaR's Avatar
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    I tried to access the survey but I just got a message saying 'thank you for taking the survey'

  8. #8
    ‹bermensch
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    A 'bed tax' is a proposal that's been around for some time. If implemented, visitors to national parks would pay a small surcharge on the cost of accommodation which would be used to finance environmental projects.

    I feel that those who dwell in the groves of academe have a duty to be intellectually rigourous; there is no point in completing surveys that contain questions that are pointless or impossible to answer. We do not know how the results of these surveys are going to be used. Perhaps one day, someone will stumble upon the results and state that researchers at Perth College have found, for example, that 40 per cent of hillwalkers believe that 4x4s, or poor drainage, or over-use, or whatever it might be, is the main contributor to path erosion. This might be taken up by path campaigners and if repeated often enough, become an established fact.

    One of the assertions of the Ramblers Association is a case in point. For the past ten years the organization has, by the selective use of official statistics, claimed that one third of the path network in England is difficult to use. A couple of years ago the new CEO stated on Radio 4 and repeated in 'Walk', the Association's house magazine, that one third of English rights of way are 'inaccessible' which. in plain English, means that they are impossible to use by anyone. This is nonsense and a moment's reflection would reveal that, if it were true, then nobody would be able to plan a walk in England. Yet it is now almost an article faith amongst dedicated Ramblers despite there being no evidence to support the claim.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Don't worry, Hugh, I am intellectually rigorous. I'm marking at this very moment and pointing out all the strengths and weaknesses in my students' work. But I wouldn't do that on a public forum!

    Thanks for explaining the bed tax.

  10. #10
    Mini Goon Elfed Roberts's Avatar
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    you scare me sometimes, kate. i'm glad my college days are over .....for now, the way social work seems to be going, new acts etc.

    questionaire done.

  11. #11
    Ultra King Kinley's Avatar
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    Dotterrel posted the request to complete the questionaire on a few other forums too.

    The cynic in me wonders whether he/she is researching how contrary/ornery/awkward/pernickity forum users are across the web

    (I filled it out when the link was posted on SHills )

  12. #12
    Ultra King
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    "No research needed for that...", where's the intellectual rigour in that?

  13. #13
    Ultra King Kinley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barry View Post

    The cynic in me wonders whether he/she is researching how contrary/ornery/awkward/pernickity forum users are across the web

    No research needed for that - established grumpy old man/woman/person fact
    Maybe a league table of sites could emerge

  14. #14
    Ultra King
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  15. #15
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    That's such a sloppy argument, Simon!

  16. #16
    Ultra King Mikel el Bastardo's Avatar
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    Footpath repair?

    Something for middle-class parents to feel good about, when there children want to save the planet.

  17. #17
    ‹bermensch FB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike fae Dundee View Post

    Footpath repair?

    Something for middle-class parents to feel good about, when there children want to save the planet.

    And keeps them all in the same place, out of the way of real walkers

    i.e. the Lake District


  18. #18
    Ultra King
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    I think Kate meant sloppy.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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  20. #20
    Widdler
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    Thanks to everyone who has completed my questionnaire and thanks for all the feedback. I know the questionnaires not perfect, but it's the best I can do.

    I agree, it is a bit long- I couldn't decide which questions to leave out! They're all relevant to my research as far as I'm concerned. So far 85% of folks who start it actually finish it, which I'm very grateful for.

    Thanks for all your help.

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