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On the importance of paths

                                              

www.ebay.co.uk/itm/A-little-book-about-Paths-alleys-twittens-and-droves-of-SW-London-in-prose

Walking would be impossible without paths.

Paths are a form of separation between us and modern life. They separate us from traffic.

They flow like water to provide us with natural shortcuts and desire lines.

They can allow for a continuity of gardens and be good wildlife corridors.

They can provide a link to the past and the people who used old routes, providing a touchstone for emotional memory.

When we follow in footsteps we are in harmony with our ancestors. Walking routes became a way of ‘un-enclosing’ paths or re-appropriating them for common use.

In the modern emphasis on swift travel and new cycle routes, the pedestrian has been forgotten. Some of our hard-won paths are once again in danger from enclosure, appropriation and disappearance. 

Loss of Paths

Within the plans for regeneration of the Cambridge road estate are the removal of our Rights of Way, which I have enjoyed (as have many of my neighbours) for nearly 28 years. I have asked the council to protect them and have made an application to put them on the Definitive Map.


  • 1.      NS 1 from Bonner Hill Road to the main east west route;
  • 2.      NS 2 from Bonner Hill road to Ely Court and Piper Hall;
  • 3.      NS 3 from Somerset road through Fordham Gardens to Hawks Road clinic;
  • 4.      NS 4 from Ely court to the main east- west spine;
  • 5.      NS 5 From Vincent Road to the main east west spine;
  • 6.      EW 1 the main east west spine accessed from Willingham Way and approx. 208m in length;
  • 7.      EW 2 From Washington Road to Gravelly and Surrey Sports centre;
  • 8.      EW3 From Cambridge Grove Road a ‘dog’s leg’ to Willingham Way; and
  • 9.      EW4 Cambridge Grove Road to Willingham Way.

These paths amount to 848 metres which is nearly a kilometre of lost public access. The access makes perfect sense as the paths lead to the clinic or the shops, cemetery bus stop, hospital or the station and separate us from the traffic. The new arrangement will avoid private areas and gated courtyards, force pedestrians to share pavements with traffic and be an entirely reduced walking experience on a homogenous, monotonous landscape.

 Listen to the alley  house sparrows 

and the song Ten Twittens https://youtu.be/t-3RqlFxlmo

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