Rail trails are proving an enormous hit with travelers looking for something different, and it is good to see Australia is now catching on, with one of the latest proposals involving part of the Far North Coast branch lines from Murwillumbah.

But one thing I doubt we will ever see on the Far North Coast, is a system of walking paths, which essentially encompass ‘Rights of Way’, as in the English countryside.

To my mind, some of the most beautiful walks, across farmland, streams and down country lanes, could be mapped out in the Richmond, Byron and Tweed regions.

As in England, these areas provide beautiful scenery around every corner, and there are so many villages and towns where walkers could stop for a breather, a schooner of beer or a coffee.

A walk, from say, Alstonville to Clunes, could take in Eltham and its lovely pub. From Clunes there could be a cross country walk to Mullumbimby via Federal, which has a wondeful general store and a restaurant.

The first time I recall going across country in England, was in January, 1978 when Marie and I walked the hills around Beeston in Cheshire, when we staying with Paddy and May Hart in Widnes. There were fields, castles and woodland, all in a relatively compact area.

The last such walk my wife and I undertook, was from Wherwell to Goodworth Clatford in Hampshire, following the River Anton.

Now, for the concept to work in Australia, it would require the co-operation of landholders, and I think local Government would put that in the too hard basket.

Maybe, way down the track (excuse the pun), things could change, particularly as our population grows, the roads become more congested and people look for simple outlets in the countryside, without having to head the popular beach or national park destinations.

Photo: Marie Ricketts (left) with Cliff and Jane Rogers in the Derbyshire countryside in 2011


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