'BARBED wire and Locked Gates (Craven Herald, Dec 21, and online) certainly struck a chord with me.

When I moved to Cowling 20 years ago I was so impressed with the number of paths on the map - I determined to walk them all.

I soon gave up that aspiration.

* About half of the Rights of Way on the map are disused, I discovered.

* Being obviously the first to try a path for many years led me to vicious dogs in farmyards, obstructive farmers, locked gates, other obstacles, herds of somewhat threatening cows, bulls, - it certainly was no pleasure at times.

* Many paths have a nice sign where they leave a road then nothing - no trace, no clue that anyone has walked there for years.

* Some Rights of Way (RoW) on the map have been superseded by a different, unofficial path which is used, leaving the original route abandoned.

*Shooting is still a pastime in these parts - I came across target practice going on actually on the RoW, so dangerous.

*Many gates are so decrepit that the strength of Hercules is needed to lift them - well the burly farmer must be capable, but he seems to want to make it impossible for others to pass.

It's a great pity that, for all the above reasons, walking the Rights of Way 'off the beaten track' is so difficult, and keeping to well known paths such as the Pennine Way seems to be the only option.

John Heaton