Letter: Walkers who ignore Wainwright's sense

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his article on Alfred Wainwright's coast-to-coast walk (17 October), Peter Dunn makes no mention of Wainwright's own philosophy of walking. Writing in the introduction to his book A Coast to Coast Walk, Wainwright said this: 'Every walker who plans a cross country expedition refers to his maps . . . and so devises a pleasant route to his objective that he is free to walk . . . without fear of trespass or restriction.'

Adam Nicolson, in his Long Walks (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1981), wrote of Wainwright's walk: 'Mr Wainwright is careful to call his guidebook 'A Coast to Coast Walk'. He encourages his followers to find variations for themselves . . .' Wainwright would be horrified at the trespassing done in his name, which damages the image of good walking practice.

Using Ordnance Survey maps, I have devised some of my own routes, one of them more than 125 miles long, from my home to Glastonbury. All my routes use official rights of way. Can I suggest that the fault with Wainwright's coast- to-coast route lies not with him or his publishers but with those walkers who leave good manners, common sense and good walking practice behind when they put on their boots.

My advice to them is, don't go, and to the landowners who catch them, prosecute them; they do the rest of us no good whatsoever.

Yours sincerely,


Studley, Warwickshire