||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Trail. (Discuss) Proposed since July 2014.|
A footpath (also pedestrian way, walking trail, nature trail) is a type of thoroughfare that is intended for use only by pedestrians, not other forms of traffic such as motorized vehicles and horses. They can be paths within an urban area, or rural paths through the countryside. Urban footpaths are usually paved, may have steps, and may be called alleys, lanes, steps, etc. Occasionally they are named. Other public rights of way, such as bridleways, byways, towpaths, and green lanes are also used by pedestrians.
The terms "shared-use path", "separated-use path" or "multi-use path" may be used, if pedestrians and other forms of traffic make use of the same thoroughfare. The term footpath can also be used to describe a pavement/sidewalk in some English-speaking countries.
Footpaths may be constructed of masonry, brick, poured or modular unit concrete, cut stone or wood boardwalk. Also crushed rock, decomposed granite, fine wood chips are commonly used. The construction materials can vary over the length of the footpath and may start with a well constructed hard surface in an urban area, and end with an inexpensive soft or loose surface in the countryside.
The main issues in urban areas include maintenance, litter, crime, and lighting after dark. In the countryside there are issues relating to conflicts between walkers and livestock, and these occasionally result in people being injured or even killed. Dogs often contribute to such conflicts - see Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953. Also footpaths in remote locations can be difficult to maintain.
Types of footpaths
Footpaths can be located in different settings for various uses. These can include:
- Parks: including public spaces, urban parks, neighborhood parks, linear parks, botanic gardens, arboretum, and regional parks.
- Gardens and designed landscapes: in private gardens and in public areas; and at park visitors centers as natural history interpretive nature trails in designed wildlife gardens.
- Sculpture gardens and open air museums, as sculpture trails and historic interpretive trails.
- Wilderness trails, such as a day trail or long-distance trail, including those within a protected nature reserves, and national parks.
- jogging or running paths.
- Disability and wheelchair accessible paths in sensory gardens and all the above settings.
- The dictionary definition of footpath at Wiktionary
- Footpath Map — a map of footpaths in the UK <http://footpathmap.com>