away in the South Devon countryside, and largely ignored for decades,
lies a network of historic tracks, all of them with a rich tale
of the lanes are centuries old, and one, in Ugborough, dates back
to the Bronze Age. There are almost 200 of these routes in the South
Hams, and some provided a link all the way from the moors to the
were used by smugglers, who brought their contraband ashore via
the secluded coves of the South Devon coast.
from all the traffic, the lanes are a perfect setting for walkers
tracks are known as Green Lanes, and they are now being brought
back to life as part of a green tourism project by South Hams District
council has launched its "On the Right Tracks" scheme,
and is looking for help from businesses to fund it.
with 450 miles of track to clear, it's going to take thousands of
pounds - and hours - to complete the huge project.
of the unique tracks have become eroded and storm damaged, while
others are in danger of disappearing completely.
by name....green by nature
green lanes are not just of historical value, though. With their
traffic-free steep hedged banks and grassy surfaces, they are environmentally
important too, encouraging birds and other wildlife.
South Hams' green tourism officer, Zoe Hambly, says that once the
restoration is done, it will be the finest network of its kind in
Britain: "The lanes have been forgotten really, and yet they
are very historic," she said.
got 191 of these lanes, and most are too narrow to drive along,
but are wider than paths. It will be lovely to get them back to
as they should be."
cleared, the lanes can again be used by walkers
of the paths will be made accessible for people with disabilities,
and the tracks will attract locals as well as visiting walkers and
project has received funding from the council, the Countryside Agency,
South West Tourism and Devon County Council, with grant aid from
the European Union.
businesses and individuals can also help by giving donations. Contact
South Hams Council on 01803 861249.
In addition, "On the Right Track" leaflets about the project
are also available on the same telephone number.
pictures used with permission of South Hams District Council.