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Monday, 4 February 2013

Progressive destruction of woodland flora by walkers

Above; newly emerging bluebells, about to be trampled to death in a Sussex wood.
This nature reserve in the High Weald of West Sussex, New England Wood, has regular single or small groups of visitors.

Even so, the path gets a bit churned up and muddy....

So the walkers then walk OFF the path, on either side, onto the woodland flora....

But then these two new paths get muddy...

So the walkers then tread ever further from the centre of the original path.

Above you can see the latest, dry, trampled routes, parallel to the original path -- like the hard shoulder and central reservation of a seven lane pedestrian path (the seven lanes of which are not used much because of mud).
It gets worse! 
Once the seven lane path is thoroughly churned, walkers then regularly "create" another route well away from the original path to start a new potentially seven lane path a few meters from the original.  It is a bit like the parallel M6 toll motorway north of Birmingham perhaps, with the only toll being the destruction and loss of the trampled plant life.
So what to do?
The steps on some paths are more than ankle deep in mud.  People are choosing to walk down the slippery but not so muddy natural bank, again trampling and destroying emerging bluebells and other plants.  Better to have built no steps in the first place you might question!

Above, in the foreground, you can see an example of an unmaintained, unimproved path being diverted to open woodland.

By contrast, this particular section of path was, historically a pond.
Such properly maintained paths could encourage walkers to keep to a narrow path, to preserve and not trample and destroy the plants and flowers that people enjoy

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