Improving Quality of Life and Public Health - Better Access to Tring's Countryside and the Footpath Network.

Little Tring Lane Footpath RepairedTring is surrounded by beautiful countryside - but we can't just walk where we like. Nearly every green field we see around us is in use in some way or another.

It's either fallow between crops - rare these days - or used for grazing or for hay or is planted with a commercial crop. And of course it will be owned by someone, possibly in some cases by the County Council. So in real terms access, except in parks of some sort or designated public open spaces, is very much limited to footpaths. This of course means then that access to those footpaths is the important factor.

We are lucky in Tring to have a large number of citizens who take a keen interest in the town and its surroundings, some of whom have a particular interest in footpaths. A couple of years ago some new footpaths were established near New Mill and an old one, established by Paliament, which had fallen out of use was rediscovered and reinstated. Running alongside Little Tring Lane was a tarmaced footway, but so badly neglected it was hardly visible any more.

Using funds from his Highways Locality Budget, County Councillor Nick Hollinghurst has managed to get the footpath relaid with a smooth surface. This now makes it suitable for children on bikes (but not the lycra lads, please), or roller skates, for dog walkers (and of course you clean up after them) and for people just wanting a gentle walk out into the countryside. If you need a bit of assistance getting out there, then is a parking space for two cars further up towards Little Tring (though no charging point at the moment, I'm afraid).

The repaired footway now gives easier access to Footpath 51, which in turn leads on to Footpath 46 and down to the Wendover Arm of the canal. A little further on from the end of the new footway and you reach the rediscovered Footpath 88, which takes you to a whole network of public footpaths, including new path 87, Footpath 52 along the canal and the feeder, and Footpaths 78 and 41 which can take you all the way back into Tring along Brookside Walk.

Nick hopes this will be just the start of footpath improvements around and within Tring - all part of his aspiration for a "family-friendly environment", in Tring and beyond.