Ramblers urge next GM mayor to create new green walking routes for each borough

Date published: 07 April 2021

Walking charity The Ramblers is urging Greater Manchester’s next mayor to create a network of walking routes for everyone to enjoy, starting with a new green route in all ten boroughs.

The call comes as Britain’s largest walking charity launches a manifesto outlining its vision for enabling Greater Manchester’s people to access nature in their daily lives.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen growing public enthusiasm for walking around towns and cities, with proven benefits for walkers’ health, wellbeing and happiness.

The Ramblers is committed to supporting and encouraging this trend as we emerge from lockdown. 

The Ramblers’ campaigners believe that all Greater Manchester mayoral candidates should promise to prioritise high quality, nature rich green routes if they are elected on May 6.  

These routes should include features such as: 

reduced traffic 

clear signage to other walking routes 

footpaths free of obstructions  

plentiful plants and trees

The recent Greater Manchester Combined Authority report on the natural environment showed that only 44% of people live within a five-minute walk of a park or green space.

Many are put off from visiting green spaces by heavily trafficked roads, not knowing where to go or other barriers. 

That’s why a new green route for all ten Greater Manchester boroughs is just part of detailed plans outlined in the Ramblers’ new manifesto, 'A green walking network: bringing nature closer to people'.

The Ramblers’ full vision also includes asking the new mayor to:  

appoint, within 100 days of election, a working group of Ramblers and others to develop a Greater Manchester-wide Right of Way Improvement Plan

fully fund and implement Greater Manchester’s Made To Move plan

introduce a ‘greenspace standard’ for planning, requiring all new developments to contribute the aim of everyone in Greater Manchester living not more than five minutes’ walk or 300 metres from a green space

ensure Greater Manchester’s public transport system enables and supports opportunities for leisure walking and visits to the surrounding countryside

The Ramblers is calling for voters to take action to support their vision by writing to their chosen mayoral candidate, asking them to sign up to the Ramblers’ manifesto.

Information about how to do this can be found at: www.ramblers.org.uk/gm2021 

Margaret Manning, Chair of the Ramblers Greater Manchester and High Peak Area, said: “We have made a good start in Greater Manchester with the Bee Network, but we need to do more to ensure that the benefits of green space and walking routes are available to all citizens.

"We can point to examples like the Manchester Green Trail and the Salford Trail to show what local Ramblers groups can achieve.

"The next Mayor of Greater Manchester will have the responsibility to really build on the early successes of Made to Move and to create a network of green routes that provide opportunities not just for everyday journeys, but to enable people to connect with green spaces for enjoyment, health and wellbeing.”  

The Ramblers’ campaigning activities in the run-up to the May 6 elections will include:  

A day of action on April 20, when everyone will be encouraged to share their favourite walking routes and green spaces, plus their ideas for a greener, more walking-friendly Greater Manchester.  

Local Ramblers are supporting a special hustings event on April 22, organised by Walk Ride Greater Manchester, at which mayoral candidates will be quizzed about their plans to promote walking and cycling.

The Ramblers has an 85-year history of dramatically increasing opportunities for the public to enjoy walking, and currently has around 4,000 members in the Greater Manchester area.

In 2012, for example, Ramblers volunteers designed and created the Manchester Green Trail route.

They then checked each of the 14 sections, suggested improvements, developed maps and route descriptions, and organised free led walks to encourage people to explore their city on foot.

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