We Are Trialling New Digital Pathways

We are joining forces with Oxfordshire County Council and the University of Oxford to trial a series of new digital permissive pathways on our land.

Our new scheme, which is being part funded by Natural England, utilises digital technology to provide real-time information on the quality of paths.

A series of QR codes located on posts along the route, allow people to feed back on the current state of the pathway, its suitability for different uses and to report any issues.

In addition to logging details, users can also scan the codes to get more information on their surroundings, conservation projects, nearby points of interest, local wildlife and seasonal changes.

“Harnessing new technology to improve the quality and accessibility of permissive and public pathways, has the potential to open up vast swathes of the country and to make it easier, safer and much more enjoyable to get outside,” said our Head of Innovation David Green.

“By utilising the smart technology in our phones, we can provide lots of really useful, and crucially up-to-date information for people.

“Whether that’s reporting a broken stile, an overgrown section, confirming what the surface is like at any given point or how wide the pathway is.

“This will allow everyone from dog walkers, ramblers and runners, to horse-riders, cyclists and wheelchair users to know whether a specific route is suitable for them to use,” he added.

The digital pathway scheme also makes it much easier for our rural team to address potential issues quickly.

“Having real-time data means the team is aware of incidents, damage or blockages and can accurately identify exactly where they are,” said David.

“The team can also use the data to monitor how busy each section of the pathway is throughout the year and this can then inform the decision-making process on upgrading or expanding the network,” he added.

In recent years, our Estate has opened up a series of waymarked permissive pathways across our land. The plan is to significantly expand public access and use new routes to help link up surrounding communities and encourage more active travel.

As part of our 10 Goals, we are committed to growing and developing our social, environmental and economic contribution to the local community.