This chapter is mainly concerned with paths through woodlands, copses and scrub, and paths enclosed by hedges through agricultural and residential land. Conditions vary greatly from one part of the country to another, and sheltered south and western areas will have much lusher growth than exposed or upland areas.
Reasons for doing clearance work may include:
- Making the path easy to follow and pleasant to use. Increased use will keep the path open and reduce the need for future work.
- Keeping a right of way in use. By clearing a path and walking it, one is decreasing the likelihood of there being a successful order (England and Wales) to close it.
- Improving the quality of the path and its edges. Clearing overgrowth allows wind and sun to dry muddy paths, and if done with care can be of benefit both visually and ecologically. Woodland and scrub edges with a gradation of vegetation are valuable habitats.
- Channelling use onto a particular route, and diverting use away from ecologically sensitive areas.