Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STUDY: JOSÉ MARÍA NASARRE SARMIENTO CHIEF RESEARCHERS: LÁZARO MEDIAVILLA SALDAÑA PEDRO MANUEL MILLÁN DEL ROSARIO RESEARCHERS: CARLOS FERRIS GIL VICENTE MANUEL ZAPATA HERNÁNDEZ ANTONIO ALBA MORATILLA PEDRO BRAVO DOMÍNGUEZ ANTONIO JOAQUÍN SÁNCHEZ SÁNCHEZ MARÍA RUIPÉREZ GONZÁLEZ PAU PÉREZ DE PEDRO ANTONIO TURMO ARNAL JUAN JESÚS IBÁÑEZ MARTÍN DESIGN AND LAYOUT: CHEMI CABALEIRO WWW.CREATECNIA.ES PHOTOGRAPHY: ALL PHOTOS ARE PART OF THE FILE CREATED BY THE AUTHORS OF THIS STUDY. ©FEDME. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PART OF THIS STUDY MAY BE REPRODUCED, IN ANY FORM WITHOUT THE EXPRESS CONSENT OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS. Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development Content Presentation 3 Introduction 5 Methodology 13 Characterisation of footpaths analysed 29 Study data 71 Qualitative data in the study 72 Quantitative data in the study 84 Conclusions and recommendations 93 Conclusions 94 Recommendations 98 Acknowledgements 103 The study in figures 105 presentation Trailwalking is one of the sports carried out under the supervision and direction of the Spanish Federation for Mountain and Climbing Sports and the Regional Mountaineering Federations, who are responsible for promoting and implementing trailwalking projects in Spain and have full competency in their respective regions. Ever since the first long-distance trail (GR) was marked in Spain in 1975, the network has continued to grow until the present day, thanks to the generosity and efforts of the mountain association affiliated to the mountaineering clubs. The development of this network of paths has gone hand in hand with spectacular growth in the number of walkers in Spain, with this sport now boasting the highest proportion of sportsmen and women practising the various mountain activities contemplated by the Federation. Walking is a sports activity that is perfect when it comes to meeting the requirements for low impact on the environment and respect for nature, and has recently become a major tourist attraction. The marked paths recover and maintain trails that our ancestors used for trade and communication. They run mainly through areas of high environmental value, revealing some veritable gems with regard to the flora and fauna, and often feature samples of local heritage of great historical value. Familiarity with the geography, topography and landscape, together with perception on the ground of the culture and customs of rural people, provide a significant wealth of knowledge of the first magnitude. Excellent planning of the trail network acts as a socio-economic catalyst in the rural areas the routes pass through. It recovers the traditional communications network, creates the services sector, distributes tourist flows in space and time, and fosters a model of sustainable development. Mountaineers have always been sensitive to the endemic problems suffered by many mountain villages that are often remote, with no amenities and located in rugged terrain, which in many cases forces the inhabitants to leave, leading to the obvious deterioration of the environment. Such activities help to fix the population and create better standards of living for mountain dwellers and should therefore be given top priority by the authorities concerned, in conjunction with initiatives put forward by the rural population. We mountaineers will continue working to help bring these legitimate aspirations to fruition. The study presented today, drawn up by FEDME’s nature access committee with the decisive support of the General Directorate of Sustainable Rural Development of the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, is moving in this direction. In our opinion, the conclusions and recommendations ensuing from this study should be used to take a step forward in promoting walking and rambling in our society and to channel their positive effects in the conservation of the natural environment and in improving standard of living in Spanish rural areas. Juan Garrigós i Toro President of the Spanish Federation for Mountain and Climbing Sports 3 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development The growing social demand for the chance to practise activities in direct contact with nature is a fact that needs to be taken into account by the public authorities with specific responsibilities for rural areas. Furthermore, the close relationship between the rural and natural environments offers great opportunities for socio-economic development in the case of the former, while ensuring sustainable use and adequate conservation of the resources of the latter. In this context, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment has extensive experience in using the resources the rural environment has to offer to meet the growing importance of “green tourism”. A programme of non-motorised itineraries or nature trails has been in the works since 1993 with the recovery of thousands of miles of infrastructure that had fallen into disuse, such as cattle trails, towpaths, old railway lines, etc. This has generated a new source of wealth for the surrounding area after their original purpose has subsided, and has given them a “new lease of life” by adapting them to the demands of present-day tracks and trails, boosted by other activities that aim to showcase existing natural and cultural resources, as is the case of the interpretative signage in place along the various routes. All public and private organisations involved in construction activities and waymarking for this type of route are greatly concerned to ascertain the real impact such activities have on the socioeconomic situation of the rural environment they pass through, in order to optimise the use of public resources, which are always so limited. This study aims to cover the need to obtain valid conclusions for taking decisions about tracks and trails in rural areas, based on the systematic analysis of the experience culled from similar infrastructure. In this study, the Spanish Federation for Mountain and Climbing Sports offers an in-depth analysis of a heterogeneous set of existing trails in our country along with their socio-economic impact, and presents a number of conclusions and recommendations, which will almost certainly prove to be an extremely useful tool for everyone involved in the task of combining economic development with the valuation of natural resources. Begoña Nieto Gilarte Director General for Rural Development and Forest Policy introduction 5 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development FEADER 6 introduction Essential evolution of rural areas Ninety per cent of the land in Spain is rural, but it is home to only twenty per cent of the population. The gradual decline in the number of inhabitants in rural areas in recent decades makes it necessary to take measures to make it more attractive to stay, and to generate future potential. For this reason, it is imperative to redress the imbalances that have arisen, particularly in terms of amenities and quality of life, so as to offer the same opportunities that can be found in a town. To do so, we need complex, multisector, active policies combining small actions linked to the region with a broader, comprehensive vision, in partnership with the organisations upholding the social fabric. While powers in this area basically belong to the regional authorities, it befalls the statewide administrations and organisations to promote activities for guidance, coordination and large-scale design. This is the function of the Ministry of Environment, and Rural and Marine Affairs (hereinafter referred to as MARM from the Spanish Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino), along with the Spanish Federation for Mountain and Climbing Sports (hereinafter referred to as FEDME) insofar as they are responsible, who will endeavour to offer guidance and coordination for the regional federations that form part of their membership. A legal framework for sustainable rural development In the face of what is now seen as a need in the early 21st century, Law 45/2007, of 13 December, for sustainable rural development, aims to boost the socio-economic fabric of rural areas and offer access to public amenities that are adequate in both quantity and quality. Article 2 sets out the general aims of the law as follows: a) To maintain and broaden the economic base of rural areas by preserving competitive and multifunctional activities, and diversifying their economy with the incorporation of new activities that are compatible with sustained development. b) To maintain and improve conditions in the towns and villages and raise the standard of living among the inhabitants, by guaranteeing basic public amenities that are both adequate and sufficient to ensure equal opportunities and non-discrimination, particularly for the population that is most vulnerable or at risk of exclusion. c) To conserve and restore heritage and cultural and natural resources in rural areas through both public and private initiatives that are consistent with sustainable development. The study on footpaths and sustainable rural development is built on these general objectives and is 7 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development channelled through the First Sustainable Rural Development Programme. Trailwalking, which is a sports phenomenon that first appeared over twenty years ago (in 1975) and has been developing since then solely within the sphere of the federations and mountaineering sector, has led mountaineers/ramblers to live in close and constant contact with the small mountain villages, where life is hard and difficult. Moreover, for a long time mountaineers were one of the few groups that approached the small villages - with their tortuous communications, off the beaten track with no amenities, and surrounded by rugged mountains. Nowadays, mountain clubs and associations breathe life into these small towns and channel the concerns of the local youth. Although they are not the groups with the largest membership, it is true to say that most Spanish mountaineering clubs are based in rural areas, since 1,240 of the 1,759 clubs that belong to FEDME have their main offices in towns other than the provincial capitals. Mountaineers and rural area managers have spent more than ten years negotiating to establish agreements to harmonise mountain sports with the conservation of rural areas. Since 1999, when the first seminar on protected natural areas and mountain sports (“I Seminario de espacios naturales protegidos y deportes de montaña”) was held in Tenerife and attended by representatives from nearly all of the autonomous regions, about a dozen common documents have been drawn up, three of which have focused on footpaths: “Rambling in protected natural areas” (the second seminar held in Jaca in 2003), “Mountaineering’s contribution to sustainable development in natural areas” (the third seminar in Granada in 2005) and “Rambling and Rural Development” (the fifth seminar in Los Barrios in 2009). The involvement of mountaineers in rural development as an organised group is nothing new. Mountaineers as observers of evolution in rural areas Collaboration between public authorities and mountaineering federations 8 introduction A sports and recreational activity that involves walking along footpaths that are preferably traditional Apart from their value as historical heritage, reflecting the socio-economic activities and relationships flowing between our ancestors, in recent years the network of traditional trails has provided the basis for developing a type of physical activity that we have referred to as “walking” or “rambling” and which is defined as “a sports and recreational activity, which involves walking along footpaths that are preferably traditional and may or may not be signposted” (the second seminar held in Jaca in 2003). While the mere fact of restoring the trails for their original use is already something to be valued, their marking as a footpath opens up new opportunities for the local population in rural areas. Whenever the term “footpath” is used in the following pages, it refers to a trail that is marked in such a way that it makes it easy to follow for sports and recreational purposes. The rich variety of implications in the trailwalkers’ movement Rambling, which, over a century ago, emerged as a sports and social movement for city dwellers, offers a leisure activity in which the aim is to seek enjoyment, knowledge and reunion with the landscape and surrounding area. It has environmental, economic, cultural and social connotations, and fosters contact with nature in a sustainable and respectful manner. It has a significant economic impact on the environment, by generating a specialised form of tourism, unconstrained by seasonality, which helps organise the area, contributes towards fixing the local population and is compatible with the uses traditionally associated with the mountains. Therefore, it seems particularly appropriate to promote sustainable rural development in Spain. 9 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development The agreement document drawn up at the fifth seminar (Los Barrios, 2009) established that “a good basis for the process of boosting trail networks has a great many effects, with one of its most striking qualities being its contribution to rural development, especially in areas that exhibit a significant degree of decline in socio-demographic and economic terms and with regard to traditional uses”. In such cases, it may prove to be pivotal for the social dynamics of the local community and a tool for aiding the recovery, maintenance and promotion of the region’s heritage. For this to be so, it is essential to involve the community in the different stages of the process. The various initiatives should focus on the local residents so as to help them improve their living conditions through rural development projects. Attention is drawn to some of the more significant contributions to rural development, which are as follows: Rambling and rural development -Traditional trails are recovered which, by and large, are public rights of way, along with the rural heritage associated with them. This articulates the attractions of the local surroundings and supports protection initiatives in all fields, creating synergies with the trail network. - A new activity is generated, creating an offer that may help develop the service sector. Tourism is stimulated by fomenting an offer that is innovative and not subject to seasonal fluctuations, based on renewing interest in the local heritage. - Tourist flows are distributed in time and space, providing they are planned with the right tools and strategies. - A model of sustainable development is generated that respects the environment and local culture through coordination between land managers and socio-economic stakeholders. Spain is fully aware of the tourism factor. Being pioneers in sun and beach tourism, with worldwide fame as an artistic heritage tourist destination in large cities, it is not hard to take on board tourist plans for sustainable rural development. What we know as “mountain tourism”, in which hiking is the main activity (as explained in the Study by the Secretary General for Tourism in 2009) is very poorly structured and developed. Small-scale activities, developing original high-quality tourist products, need to be projected worldwide to avoid having to surmount the Herculean task of selling each product individually. This is what will happen with the hiking trails, which require strong support from the tourist industry and government institutions. For all the interest shown in establishing quality footpaths in rural areas, there is a further difficulty in reaching potential visitors in an attractive manner. Rambling in the wake of tourism 10 introduction Contribution of public authorities in rambling projects Depopulation, traditional farming methods, limited industrialisation have all made it possible to maintain many ecologically important systems including populations in an excellent state of conservation. In recent decades, public administrations have invested in the improvement of thousands of miles of marked footpaths, sometimes supported by cultural or religious phenomena, or by the beauty and value of the natural landscape, but on other occasions merely because they were trying to attract visitors by offering walks through the fields and mountains. Most of them are in regular use. However, the results of public effort in a great many projects have not responded to the purposes that prompted their construction. In some cases, they are hardly ever used by the local population when they go rambling and need to be inspected and re-oriented. Mountaineers commit themselves to rural development Mountain clubs were the first to mark footpaths along trails that had traditionally been used by the local population to open up sports opportunities. FEDME’s experience regarding rambling trails cannot be boasted by any other organisation. Its 87,147 members (December 2010), who take part in nature activities, can offer a privileged view of the situation of rural areas in Spain. Hence, now that the driving force for rural areas is shifting from a focus on irrigation and farming activities and opening up to broader horizons, mountaineers understand that they can make a relevant contribution to rural development. At present, FEDME forms part of the FollowUp Committee of the National Rural Networks taking on this new commitment. Cooperation and studies for sustainable rural development When the National Rural Network takes up the challenge of changing the tourist model, FEDME thinks it can offer its collaboration in an areas with which it is very familiar, both because mountaineers have always had a close relationship with the rural environment and also because of their knowledge of Rambling in Europe and their proven experience in matters like design or the marking of routes. In 2010, the joint efforts of FEDME and the Directorate General for Sustainable Rural Development resulted in the ground-breaking study “Socio-economic and environmental impact of mountain paths on the rural and natural environment in Spain” (MARM 2010). The success and repercussions of such work have led to a new and more complex joint study being set in motion: “Marked paths and sustainable rural development”. 11 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development FEDME is a sports federation and, as such, it is a private body that carries out public functions for administrative purposes. Its statutes, issued by Resolution of the Supreme Council for Sport of 20 September 1993 (published in the National Gazette, BOE 15-10-93), identifies rambling in Article 3.7 among the sports that are under its responsibility. This competency is grouped together with those relating to excursions and hikes through areas of low, mid and high altitude, mountaineering, rock-climbing, canyoning, downhill skiing, snow-shoe routes, mountaineering camps and competitions relating to these sports events. However, in its role of working in the “public sphere”, it endeavours to go beyond the assumed activities of a sports federation. In accordance with its Statutes, its goals include “developing and promoting studies and work, albeit scientific, technical, for dissemination or any other practices relating to the mountains and/or the sporting events under the umbrella of FEDME”. When addressing the current study, the activities dealt with are those set out in its Statutes. FEDME is a sports federation with a social role One of FEDME’s goals is to create a network of footpaths marked GR®, PR® and SL®, (trademarks registered in its name), enabling everyone living in Spain to get to know the country on foot and under safe conditions. An endorsement procedure is used for such purposes, under the auspices of the regional federations, which ensures compliance with the exact requirements for routes and signage in accordance with its Trailwalker’s Handbook. The aim is to endeavour to establish homogeneity throughout Spain and place these trails on equal terms with the standards of quality enjoyed by the European network. Spain currently has a network of 60,000 kilometres of trails with the GR®, PR® and SL® markings, linking up more than 800,000 kilometres of paths sponsored by the various European Rambling clubs and associations. GR, PR and SL footpaths - registered trademarks Although FEDME take a sports perspective, and their action focuses on the signage itself, they are pursuing a policy that is open to compatibility with other marking systems, such as nature trails, or other markings for protected areas. They are also taking part in all those processes of analysis and knowledge examining the socio-economic impact of rambling, its repercussions on health, on people’s environmental awareness, and also on the recovery of trails as part of our extremely valuable historical heritage. The study entitled “Marked paths and sustainable rural development” therefore not only includes GR footpaths, but also Vías Verdes (Greenways), Caminos Naturales (Nature Trails), Vía de la Plata (the Silver Way), Ruta del Quijote (the Don Quixote Route) and Camino de Santiago (The Way of St James), which use different signage, with pedestrians sometimes sharing their paths with other non-motorised forms of transport such as cycling and horse-riding. In some cases they have worked together with the public authorities to harmonise the use of different signs. Interest in forming a network of fully marked trails methodology 13 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development 14 methodology The initial proposal of “Marked paths and sustainable rural development” The study entitled “Marked paths and sustainable rural development” analysed ten paths running through the lands of various autonomous communities, to try and identify the factors driving the processes of sustainable development in the towns through which they pass and to implement proposals or recommendations for improvement. In order to achieve this objective, it was essential to seek out diversity in the ten routes selected: different motivations, different waymarkings, different approaches to management and maintenance, different ways of revitalising and promoting the areas came into focus right from the outset: - Firstly, tourism: the visitors. Traditional trails are now enhanced by facilitating rambling, as sports and leisure activities, because they constitute an efficient tool associated with developing tourist products. - Secondly, the local population itself, which uses the footpaths to promote health, active leisure pursuits and sports, in a society that is reshaping rural values and opportunities associated with nature. -Thirdly, quality, extending such criteria to signage materials, design, dissemination of specialised channels, promotion, connection with statewide and European networks, integration in the natural surroundings, or their relationship with the preservation of biodiversity. Team members To carry out the study entitled “Marked paths and sustainable rural development”, all members of the Scientific Mountain Advisory Board were transferred. Those that wanted to take part of their own free will were convened for the first meeting in Barcelona on 12 February 2011. The following people were directly involved in the study: • José María Nasarre Sarmiento (Aragon), Doctor in Law, Senior Lecturer at the University of Zaragoza, Academic Director of the Master’s Programme in Mountain Sports-related Law. Member of the FEDME Board of Directors and person responsible for the Nature Access Committee. • Lázaro Mediavilla Saldaña (Madrid), Doctor in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Senior Lecturer at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, FEDME Trails Expert. • Pedro Manuel Millán del Rosario (Canary Islands), Bachelor in Geography and History, Master in Local Development, Co-Director of Cultural Tourism Programme at the University of La Laguna, Manager of the foundation “Fundación Canaria Santa Cruz Sostenible”. • Carlos Ferrís Gil (Valencia), Bachelor in Law, Master in Environmental Management, FEDME Trails Expert and Specialist in Public Use of Natural Parks, Coordinator of FEDME’s Scientific Mountain Advisory Board. • Vicente Manuel Zapata Hernández (Canary Islands), Doctor in Geography and History, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of La Laguna, Director of the Cultural Tourism Programme and the Seminar on Thematic Rambling, Valuation of Local Heritage and Development. • Antonio Alba Moratilla (Asturias), Technical Agricultural Engineer, Director of Natural Parks in the Principality of Asturias and the Nature Reserve of Muniellos, Member of the Spanish MAB Committee, FEDME Trails Expert. 15 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development • Pedro Alberto Bravo Domínguez (Valencia), Geographer, Mountain Guide, University Expert in Environmental Science. • Antonio Joaquín Sánchez Sánchez (Andalusia), Human Resource Technician, member of the Governing Board of Los Alcornocales Natural Park. • María Ruipérez González (Castilla-La Mancha), Bachelor in Environmental Science, Remote Sensing and GIS Technician. • Pau Pérez de Pedro (Catalonia), Geographer and Geologist. Natural Areas Expert, member of the Environment Commission of the Spanish Olympic Committee. • Also participating in the study were Antonio Turmo Arnal, FEDME Director for Rambling, FEDME Trails Expert, representative at the European Ramblers Association, and Archaeologist; and Juan Jesús Ibáñez Martín, Secretary for the Access Committee of the International Mountain and Climbing Federation (IUAA), who, on account of his association with the Secretary’s Office of FEDME’s Nature Access Committee, took over the duties of secretary and communications manager for the group and control of the project. Responsibility for managing the project was taken over by José María Nasarre, with the main researchers for the study also being Lázaro Mediavilla and Pedro Millán. 16 methodology Criteria for selecting the trails under study The selected trails The selection of the 10 trails was based on the diversity of the regions, origins and type of signage. The team decided to go for lengths of route requiring an overnight stay. On trails that were hundreds of kilometres long, sections with two stages were selected. The following premises were established: • 40 to 60 kilometres in length. • Pass through more than 10 autonomous communities. • Take two days to cover, with an overnight stay in the area. • Choose at least one with the “vía verde” (Greenway) label. • Choose at least one with the “camino natural” (Nature Trail) label. • Choose at least one with the “gran recorrido” (GR – long-distance footpath) label. • Have at least one religious reason. • Select at least one path that has opened in the last five years. • Select at least one historical path that has been traversed since time immemorial. • Include at least one path that traverses island environments. • Include at least one path that belongs to a local network. Once the rules had been decided upon, all the trails were examined. In the end, 11 autonomous communities were represented. The presence of Andalusia and Castilla y León, the two most extensive regions, was twice as large as the others. The following proposal was finally adopted: Camí de Cavalls (Balearic Islands). Historical coastal path that was recovered very recently, running around the perimeter of the Island of Menorca, and marked as a Nature Trail and GR (long-distance footpath). Its itinerary links up natural and rural areas, with accommodation designed for sun and beach tourism. Camino de la Virgen (Canary Islands). Middle section of a traditional pilgrimage route that has recently been extended to the east and west of the island of El Hierro as a Nature Trail. The backbone articulating all the other trails on an island that has recently attempted to develop rambling activities. Camino de Santiago (La Rioja-Castilla y León). Historical Trail, with religious origins and its own waymark. It is looked after by associations and has hostels and amenities dotted along the route which help support the local population. It is one thousand kilometres long and the section selected includes two autonomous communities. Camino del Ebro (Cantabria-Castilla y León). Riverside footpath, with signage added only very recently, with the Nature Trail waymarkings being compatible with those identifying it as a GR Footpath. It is one thousand kilometres long and the section selected runs through two autonomous communities. 17 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development Las Alpujarras (Andalusia). A footpath that runs along the southern side of the Sierra Nevada, but forms part of the trail extending for more than 10,000 kilometres linking up Athens and Tarifa. Marked as GR 7 and European Long-Distance Path E 4, recognised by the European Ramblers Association. This is a mountain trail that links up various villages along the way. Los Oscos (Asturias). This is a network of trails starting out from places with PR waymarkings. These trails have emerged as more rural accommodation has become available, enabling walks to be offered to tourists visiting the area. Ports de Beceite or Els Ports (Catalonia-Aragon-Valencia). This is a network of trails that is partly linked to the GR7 and the E4 European long-distance footpath recognised by the European Ramblers Association, in a sparsely populated area with rugged terrain. The massif known as Els Ports de Beceite is a mountainous area that is of great environmental and cultural value, located in a mountain region shared by three autonomous communities. Ruta de Don Quijote/the Don Quixote Route (Castilla-La Mancha). An important project that began life with the celebration of the anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote, with waymarkings and its own specific objectives, spreading across all the provinces of Castilla-La Mancha. It differs from all the other long-distance paths in that it can be used throughout by motor vehicles. Vía de la Plata (Extremadura-Castilla y León). A natural corridor that has linked up the west of Spain since Roman times, with vestiges of its old cobblestones. It has recently been reconditioned for pedestrian use. It has its own waymarkings, even though GR markings are gradually being introduced. Vía Verde Subbética / Subbética Greenway (Andalusia). This is a disused railway line with the waymarking typically used on greenways. The gentle slope makes it particularly suitable for cycling and the link between the stations of neighbouring towns makes it popular with local residents. 18 methodology Trail analysis fact file This study was carried out using a direct observation fact sheet, specifically designed to analyse the trails, consisting of five sections: - The technical identification of the footpath, in which an attempt was made to establish its basic details, length, location, places along the route, names it is known by, etc. - The social and historical framework of the long-distance path itself, from which information was extracted concerning its history, people, tourist profile, promoters of the initiative, etc. - The photo archive, which had to contain items that were significant and representative of the footpath, information boards, vegetation, type of surface, waymarkings, villages, etc. - The sources of information used, alluding to both bibliographic or digital references, and the expert informants consulted. - The evaluative survey, with 106 items concerning the footpath, with reference to the itinerary, infrastructure, information, local population, etc. An evaluative tool in the form of a fact file was adapted for such purposes (known as HEVA, standing for Herramienta Valorativa in the original Spanish), and presented in 2009 for the active tourism study (Mediavilla), which used the 5-point and 7-point Likert scales, and the Guttman “yes/no” scales. The team, who were members of the Scientific Mountain Advisory Board, had successive meetings, enhanced by email communication, to extract the meaningful content from the file. First, the items that needed to be included were proposed, and then the wording for each one was agreed upon. The documentation for direct observation of each footpath was divided into three basic parts. a) The survey on the footpath profile. The team decided on the format that would be used to group the content required from the technical profile and socio-historical analysis, for which it was necessary to resort to written information and personal testimonies. The technical profile included the details of the name of the footpath, location, places associated with it, length, difference in altitude, dominant surface, section selected, natural and heritage-related elements, weather, people in charge, etc. b) The photo archive. Subsequently, it was necessary to decide on the information requirements for the photo archive for the footpath, which would follow a thematic script. The photo dossier consists of twenty images with captions, which are used to characterise the footpath and highlight its most significant elements with consistency and precision. The selection includes: an information board, waymarking, surface, urban segments, significant population, walkers, impact, businesses, cultural heritage, natural heritage, scenery, difficulty, publication, and other noteworthy elements. c) The evaluative survey. Finally, a structure had to be found for the evaluative survey, which contained more than 100 points, chosen by consensus, that were considered to allow a precise, 19 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development contrastive analysis to be made to assess the footpaths. The file identified the specific weight of each piece of content using arithmetic mean values, determined by the workgroup, which were used as a corrective measure for the final data. In its final version, the assessment was set out in two scales: 1) Affirmative or negative, providing objective recognition of whether or not the specific variable of the 96 items is really present. 2) An evaluative response, from 1 to 5, which allowed for a more nuanced response to each of the affirmative answers. To check the effectiveness and correct design of the analysis report, it was imperative to carry out a pre-test on the ground. This test was performed on the GR-131 “Camino de la Virgen” (island of El Hierro, Canary Islands). This initial test enabled us to complete all sections of the file by interviewing expert informants, consulting the documentation and walking over the actual terrain. This pre-test provided qualitative and quantitative data, along with the experience of the observers, which helped us adjust the file, completing and improving on it, to arrive at its final form, thereby making it ready for application to the other footpaths that had been selected. Testing the designed file in situ During the months of May and June in 2011, ten footpaths were visited and documented by members of the Scientific Mountain Advisory Board. The field work was done in pairs, except where, for personal reasons, this proved not to be feasible. Such work did not consist solely in walking along the whole path in two days and collecting data, but also involved interviewing expert informants and handling all the paperwork, including geographic, historical, demographic, socio-economic documents. The work needed to include a photo archive that was as complete as possible, from which the most representative images could be extracted. The people responsible for the observation sheet for each of the footpaths were as follows: The field work • Camí de Cavalls: Carlos Ferrís. • Camino de la Virgen: Pedro Millán, Vicente Zapata and José María Nasarre. • Camino de Santiago: José María Nasarre, Pedro Millán and Vicente Zapata. • Camino del Ebro: Antonio Alba and Juan Jesús Ibáñez. • Las Alpujarras: Pedro Millán and Antonio Joaquín Sánchez. • Los Oscos: Antonio Alba and Juan Jesús Ibáñez. • Ports de Beceit: Carlos Ferrís and Pedro Bravo. • Ruta de Don Quijote: Antonio Turmo and Lázaro Mediavilla. • Vía de la Plata: Antonio Alba and Juan Jesús Ibáñez. • Vía Verde Subbética: María Ruipérez. 20 methodology Data analysis Once the data analysis file for the footpath was complete, the team proceeded to analyse the data obtained: a) Qualitative data. Such data were studied by means of direct and experiential observation, reviewing all the documentation that had been compiled, and drawing the most significant conclusions from the various sections: technical profile, socio-historical analysis, photo dossier, and documentary sources b) Quantitative data. Such data were analysed using Excel Office 2010 and SPSS 19, to extract the significance of the five blocks in which the file had been divided for each of the footpaths, to ascertain the representative values for these trails. A contrastive analysis of the blocks of content was also carried out, so as to accurately identify the sections and sectors that needed to be improved both immediately and in the future. Consensus among the members of the team However, merely completing this study by performing quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data would not be sufficient to achieve the goal of rigorously tackling the situation of the footpaths in Spain. It was also of paramount importance to have joint discussions to reach conclusions that would be as meaningful and accurate as possible, and also to amend the analysis file for the footpaths, and more specifically, to design an evaluative tool that was valid. Successive drafts of the present text were sent to all members of the team, who played an active role in its preparation and final review. 21 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development PATH FACT FILE 1 TECHNICAL PROFILE OF THE PATH PATH - Technical name for the path - Locations associated with it - Popular names for the path and meaning of the name - Total length: - Number of recognised stages SECTION SELECTED - Distance selected - Start - End - Altitude difference (ascent) - Altitude difference (descent) FIGURES - Number and type of natural areas passed through - Most noteworthy heritage sites - Autonomous Communities - Provinces - Local districts – Islands - Municipalities passed through - Villages passed through - Developer - Entity responsible for maintenance - Budget - Opening date - Date last modified - Number of modifications made to date - Uses for which it is recognised -Theme-related potential recognised for the path - Most common type of surface - Peak seasons - Average temperatures - Average rainfall - Exceptional weather OBSERVATIONS 22 methodology PATH FACT FILE 2 SOCIO-HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE PATH - Brief history of the path - Population and geodemographic profile - Tourist dimension: - Number of companies and types of business (rural holiday homes, hotels, hostels, adventure tourism, restaurants, bars, sports shops, souvenir shops, local handicraft, transport companies, etc.) plus number of each type. - Contrastive analysis of companies registered with the Chamber of Commerce with those held by the tourist office. - Evolution of the tourist sector: visits, tourist profile, etc. - Business development, sector identified with, etc. - Developer: motivations, programme, etc. - Public resources. 3 PHOTO REPORT (MAXIMUM OF 20 PHOTOS). - Information Board - Waymarking - Surface - Urban sections - Significant population - Walkers - Significant impacts - Companies - Cultural heritage - Natural heritage - Landscape - Level of difficulty - Cover photo for the path’s own hardcopy publication 4 DOCUMENTATION, SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND INFORMANTS CONSULTED - Documentation and information sources: - Informants consulted: 23 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development PATH FACT FILE 5 OBSERVATION SHEET: 24 methodology FICHAFACT DE SENDERO PATH FILE 25 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development PATH FACT FILE Block B: Tourist information Importance Done Physical elements: 045-Information offices can be found along the route 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 046-There is a tourist office 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 047-The tourist office has promotional items specifically about the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 048-The path is made available through specialised companies 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 049-The path is integrated in an organised tourist product 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 050-The path is advertised on the tourist office website 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 051-The website displays its content in several languages 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 052-The website contains information for using new technologies in connection with the use of the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 053-It is possible to obtain information from the panel on the footpath through the website 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 054-The website enables the information on the path to be accessed in less than four “clicks” 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 055-The information mentions the integration of the path in a network of paths 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 056-The website divulges its information through social networks 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No Virtual elements: Block B: Information system Importance Done 057-It is possible to obtain guides and brochures offering information 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 058-The latest guide to be published was less than five years ago 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 059-The guide contains information from the information panels on the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 060-The guide contains information on the natural and cultural heritage sites along the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 061-The guide includes information on amenities 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 062-The information in the guide coincides with the reality of the route 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No OBSERVATIONS: 26 methodology FICHAFACT DE SENDERO PATH FILE Block C: Use by local people and town council Importance Done 063-The path is a “health circuit” for the local people 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 064-The path is used by the local people 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 065-The path is used by education centres 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 066-There are conflicts between the local population and users of the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 067-The path is at least partly used for livestock and agricultural purposes 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 068-The local people help maintain this path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 069-The whole path runs along public rights of way 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 070-The route of the path passes through some of the most relevant areas in the region 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 071-The walkers’ stopover sites coincide with the local people’s meeting places 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 072-The project for the path has involved social participation 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 073-The municipality is involved in maintaining the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 074-Other public authorities are involved in maintaining the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 075-Selective refuse collection takes place in the locations along the route of the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No OBSERVATIONS: 27 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development PATH FACT FILE Block D: Walkers Importance Done 076-They usually have a tourist profile 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 077-They come mainly from the local autonomous community 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 078-They come mainly from other autonomous communities 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 079-They come mainly from other countries 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 080-They are mainly between 18 and 65 years of age 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 081-They are mainly over 65 years of age 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 082- They mainly walk in groups 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No Block D: Companies Importance Done 083-The companies associated with the path belong to the local population 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 084-The local people participate in related businesses (workers) 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 085-There are transport companies in the most important towns along the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 086-Tourist companies offer activities associated with the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 087-The path is advertised in the publicity offered by the hotel and catering industry 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 088-There are companies offering adventure tourism along the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 089-The companies have participated in the project for the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No OBSERVATIONS: 28 methodology FICHAFACT DE SENDERO PATH FILE Block E: Quality Importance Done 090-The businesses or location offering this path are in possession of some kind of recognised environmental quality 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 091-The protected natural areas along the path have their own identification mark 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 092-The path has its own recognised rules 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 093-The path has been approved by F.E.D.M.E. 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 094-The path is linked to other networks of paths (natural rights of way, among others) 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 095-Warnings are issued about the risks along the route in the information given in situ 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 096-Warnings are issued about the risks along the route in the documentation available in the tourist office 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 097-There are no noises along the route that are foreign to the natural surroundings 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 098-There are no main roads or factories in the vicinity of the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 099-There are structural elements along the route of the path that are foreign to the natural environment (outside urban areas) 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 100-The path has mobile coverage 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 101- A system is in place for collecting opinions about the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 102-The facilities are in good condition 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 103-There is a guidebook for the path 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 104-Some sections of the path can be negotiated by the disabled 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 105-The information on the website was updated less than a year ago 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No 106-The path has been included in the Agenda 21 of those municipalities that have it 1 2 3 4 5 Yes No OBSERVATIONS: Characterisation of the footpaths analysed 29 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development FEADER 30 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Camí de Cavalls FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath CAMI DE CAVALLS - Technical name for the footpath GR223 - Total length 185 kilometres SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Baleares - Provinces Menorca - Local districts – Island Menorca - Municipalities passed through Ferreries, Es Migjorn Gran and Alaior - Villages and towns passed through None, just housing estates along the coast in these municipal districts - Developer Consell Insular de Menorca (Council of the Island of Menorca) – Ministry of the Environment (Nature Trails) - Entity responsible for maintenance Consell Insular de Menorca - Opening date 2009 (1st phase) and in April 2010 all the waymarking for the circular route around the island was completed. - Start Ferreries (Cala Galdana) - Finish Alaior( Cala en Porter) - Distance selected 35.2 kilometres 31 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 2 Orientation during the route: 2 Walking difficulty: 2 Amount of effort required: 4 - Number and type of natural areas passed through Menorca Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO), Special Protection Areas for the conservation of wild birds (SPAs – EU Directive) and Natural Area of Special Interest (ANEI – Balearic Regional Government). - Most noteworthy heritage sites Lime kilns and traditional wells, dry stone walls, old threshing floors and remains of the Paleochristian basilica of Son Bou. In general, all the traditional architecture associated with cattle grazing, fishing, hunting, livestock and forestry activities in an anthropised landscape little altered by human activity. - Uses for which it is recognised Rambling, mountain biking, and horse-riding for recreational and tourist purposes. Access rights are also enjoyed by the owners and other people authorised to enter farms and carry out cattle-raising activities and forestry operations, as well as for recreational and tourist purposes. - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath Cultural and nature-related themes -Predominant type of surface Rural path and track, and exceptionally, paved country road and streets through housing estates or along the seafront. Approximately 70% is a coastal path, 25% dirt track, and 5% is a paved country road and streets through residential areas. - Peak seasons The island has a very clear season of occupation between May and September, with holidaymakers from the UK and northern Europe, although the remainder of the year (autumn and winter) is a good choice for tourists and local residents that can travel round the island when temperatures are milder and there are fewer crowds of people. 32 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed MAP FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 33 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://menorcadiferente.com/cami-de-cavalls/ 34 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Camino de La Virgen FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath Camino de la Virgen - Technical name for the footpath GR131 - Total length 37.37 kilometres SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Canarias - Provinces Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Local districts – Island Island de El Hierro - Municipalities passed through Valverde de El Hierro, El Pinar de El Hierro, La Frontera - Villages and towns passed through El Tamaduste, La Estaca, Valverde, Tiñor - Developer Cabildo de El Hierro - Entity responsible for maintenance Cabildo de El Hierro - Opening date 2005 - Start El Tamaduste - Finish Orchilla (jetty) - Distance selected 37.37 kilometres 35 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 2 Orientation during the route: 2 Walking difficulty: 2 Amount of effort required: 5 - Number and type of natural areas passed through Two. Rural park and landscape: Frontera Rural Park and Protected Landscape of Ventejís - Most noteworthy heritage sites Camino de la Virgen, Orchilla Lighthouse, La Albarrada - Uses for which it is recognised Access rights to farms, grazing areas, cattle-raising activities, forestry operations, as well as for recreational and tourist purposes. - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath Religious: pilgrimage route - Predominant type of surface Woodland trails and paths (75% of the route can be covered in a four-wheel drive) - Peak seasons Winter months, when tourists are mainly from Central Europe 36 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed MAP FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 37 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://www.elhierro.es/index.php?item=00100003 38 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Camino de Santiago FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath Camino de Santiago (the Way of St James) - Technical name for the footpath GR65 - Total length 749 kilometres SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities La Rioja and Castilla y León - Provinces La Rioja and Burgos - Local districts – Island District of Santo Domingo de la Calzada (La Rioja), located in La Rioja Alta in the Valle region; districts of Montes de Oca and Alfoz in Burgos, along the central strip of the province of Burgos. - Municipalities passed through Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Grañón (La Rioja), Redecilla del Camino, Castildelgado, Viloria de Rioja, Fresneña, Belorado, Tosantos, Villambistia, Espinosa del Camino, Villafranca Montes de Oca and Barrios de Colina (Burgos). - Villages and towns passed through Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Grañón (La Rioja), Redecilla del Camino, Castildelgado, Viloria de Rioja, Villamayor del Río, Belorado, Tosantos, Villambistia, Espinosa del Camino, Villafranca Montes de Oca and San Juan de Ortega (Burgos) - Developer The route diffused throughout the Middle Ages, its present configuration started to be developed in 1992 by the Regional Government of Galicia, and subsequently by the other regional governments. After the route was partially waymarked by the parish priest of Cebreiro, Elías Valiña, from the 1990s onwards it became much simpler to use and much more widely known due to the fact that it was easy to follow. 39 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development - Entity responsible for maintenance The painted waymarkings dotted along the trail are looked after by the associations of friends of the Way of St James. Maintenance is taken care of by the town councils, sometimes with external funding from public subsidies. - Opening date The path as it is now conceived and with its current configuration has been travelled since the 1990s, i.e. for less than twenty years. Walkers can be found that used the path at an earlier date, but they did so along the hard shoulder of main roads, or along tracks and trails that were not marked in any clear or complete fashion. According to the Spanish Federation of Associa tions of Friends of the Way of St James, the French route was recovered in 1971, the year when all sections were marked thanks to the action of the Associations of the French Pilgrim’s Way and the Autonomous Communities concerned. - Start Santo Domingo de la Calzada (La Rioja). - Finish San Juan de Ortega (Burgos, Castilla y León). - Distance selected 46.4 kilometres MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 2 Orientation during the route: 1 Walking difficulty: 1 Amount of effort required: 3 - Number and type of natural areas passed through None. - Most noteworthy heritage sites The trail itself has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, a Cultural Heritage Site in La Rioja and a Historic Site in Castilla y León. There are monuments dotted all along the route, but in the section under study the most noteworthy are the Santo Domingo de la Calzada Cathedral (an early Romanesque church erected in the 11th century), the Monasterio de San Juan (St John’s Monastery) in San Juan de Ortega (dating back to the 12th century); the Santo Domingo de la Calzada bridge over the River Oja. -Uses for which it is recognised Recreational, tourist and agricultural: rambling, cycling tours, horse-riding, pilgrimage route, access rights across farms, livestock, etc. 40 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath Religious: pilgrimage route (architectural route). - Predominant type of surface Dirt track, even though there are various sections with paving or tarmac to facilitate the use of various types of vehicle. - Peak seasons Spring to autumn. More foreign users in spring and more Spaniards in summer MAP FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 41 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://www.caminosantiago.com/ 42 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Camino del Ebro FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath Camino del Ebro - Technical name for the footpath GR99 - Total length 1200 kilometres SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Cantabria and Castilla y León - Provinces Cantabria and Burgos - Local districts – Island Valderredible and Valle de Sedano - Municipalities passed through - Villages and towns passed through Polientes, Arenillas de Ebro, Villota de Elines, San Martín de Elines, Villaescusa de Ebro, Orbaneja del Castillo, Quintanilla, Quintanilla-Escalada, Valdelateja, Cortiguera, Pesquera de Ebro, Remolino, Pasarelas, Puente del Aire, Puente Arenas. - Developer The Ministry of the Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs, The Ebro River Basin Authority at the request of the Spanish Federation for Mountain and Climbing Sports (FEDME). - Entity responsible for maintenance Ministry of the Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs - Opening date The first stone was laid in 2008, with construction being completed in 2009. - Start Polientes. - Finish Manzanedo. - Distance selected 61,4 kilometres 43 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 1 Orientation during the route: 2 Walking difficulty: 2 Amount of effort required: 3 - Number and type of natural areas passed through Las Hoces del Alto Ebro y Rudrón Nature Reserve. - Most noteworthy heritage sites Romanesque Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (12th c.), Collegiate Church of San Martín de Elines (10th c.), Romanesque Church of Escalada (12th c.), the Gallo Palace (17th c.), Romanesque Church of San Sebastián de Pesquera, Baroque Church of La Magdalena (17th c.) in Tudanca, Romanesque Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, in Manzanedo. - Uses for which it is recognised Tourism, rambling, recreation, nature trails, cycling tours, horse-riding. In addition, it is still used for the traditional forestry, farming and livestock activities practised in the regions through which it passes, thereby providing a service for the local farms. It is also normally used by the local residents. - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath Tourism, rambling and recreational pursuits. - Predominant type of surface Farms and forest tracks. It has been adapted in compliance with the Nature Trail Programme (surface, width, etc.) - Peak seasons Spring, summer, autumn. FEADER 44 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed MAP FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 45 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK www.caminosnaturales.com 46 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Senda Granadina FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath Not known - Technical name for the footpath GR 7, Senda Granadina - Total length 10.450 kilometres SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Andalusia - Provinces Granada - Local districts – Island Alta Alpujarra Granadina - Municipalities passed through Trevélez-Busquistar-Portugos-Pítres-Bubión-Pampaneira-Soportujar-Cañar-Lanjarón - Villages and towns passed through Trevélez-Busquistar-Portugos-Pítres-Bubión-Pampaneira-Soportujar-Cañar-Lanjarón - Developer Granada Provincial Council (Department of Sports) - Entity responsible for maintenance The organisation responsible for development is Granada Regional Council. Maintenance is currently in the hands of local organisations or Rural Development Groups (Association for the Development of La Alpujarra) - Opening date 1997 to 1999 - Start Trevélez - Finish Lanjarón - Distance selected 50 kilometres 47 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 2 Orientation during the route: 2 Walking difficulty: 2 Amount of effort required: 4 - Number and type of natural areas passed through Sierra Nevada Nature Reserve (R.D 24/2007 of 30 January), coinciding with Sierra Nevada National Park and Sierra Nevada Natural Park. - Most noteworthy heritage sites Bubión: Church of Bubión, Hondera fountain, Bubión washing place, Busquistar weaving workshop: Church of Busquistar Cáñar: Church of Cáñar Pampaneira: Church of Pampaneira, Pampaneira Castle, San Antonio Fountain. Pórtugos fountain: Agria fountain, Church of Pórtugos, Hermitage of Virgen de las Angustias Soportuja: Church of Soportujar, Hermitage of San Antonio de Padua, Tinaos Trevélez: Tinaillo de la Calle Cuesta, Iglesia de Trevélez, Hermitage of San Antonio, fountains and washing places in Lanjarón: Lanjarón Castle, Church of Ntra. Sra. De la Encarnación, Shrine of La Virgen del Pilar de Lanjarón, Hermitage of San Roque, Pilarillo Vuelto (or las Cuatro Esquinas), Manantial de la Capuchina (springwater). - Uses for which it is recognised Farming, livestock, communications between villages, and ecotourism activities, including rambling, mountain biking, and equestrian tourism, which are of particular interest. - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath The theme-based potential of this trail is considerable. First, there is the hilly terrain, which is very abrupt and rugged, with 57.8% of the surface marked with deep ravines and steep slopes with more than a 45% difference in altitude. This feature lends the surroundings a landscape that is unique with its own brand of folk architecture. A typical example is the declaration of the Poqueira ravine as a Historic and Artistic Conservation Area in 1980, followed by the declaration of La Alpujarra as a Cultural Heritage Site. 48 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed Media Granadina and La Tahá (Resolution of 26 October 2005). The previous mention is reinforced in ethnographic issues (local crafts, weaving, pottery, milling, etc.). The local gastronomy has a major role, as any visitor to the region is sure to notice. Its history, greatly influenced by the Moorish uprisings, which are a highlight of its local Moors and Christians festivities. The use of water for irrigation purposes using ditches (of uncertain origin, possibly Roman or Hispanic Muslim) has fashioned the landscape of hilly farmlands. Finally, added value is to be found in a protected natural area that enjoys the utmost protection. - Predominant type of surface Consisting almost entirely of tracks and trails, interspersed with short stretches of woodland trails and streets passing through the villages. - Peak seasons The greatest concentration of hikers is during Easter and the December bank holiday (commemorating the Immaculate Conception). With the exception of the summer season, when the rigours of the climate do not lend themselves to rambling, throughout the rest of the year there is a moderate to low trickle of visitors. MAP FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 49 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://www.rutasyviajes.net/gr-pr/gr7/gr7-andalucia.html 50 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Red de senderos: Los Oscos FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath Network of Footpaths in the Parish and District of Santa Eulalia de Oscos, Principado de Asturias. - Technical name for the footpath Network of Footpaths in the Parish and District of Santa Eulalia de Oscos, Principado de Asturias.. - Total length Circular routes of between 4 and 15 kilometres. SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Principado of Asturias. - Provinces Asturias. - Local districts – Island Oscos-Eo. - Municipalities passed through Santa Eulalia de Oscos. - Villages and towns passed through The whole parish. - Developer Town Council and Principality of Asturias. - Entity responsible for maintenance Town Council. - Opening date Mid-1990s in the case of the first footpath. - Start Seimeira: recreational area of Pumares. A Coba: Ferreira. - Finish Seimeira: recreational area of Pumares. A Coba: Ferreira. - Distance selected Seimeira: 8 Km, round trip. A Coba: 14,5 Km, round trip. 51 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 2; 2 Orientation during the route: 1; 2 Walking difficulty: 2; 2 Amount of effort required: 2; 3 - Number and type of natural areas passed through Eo, Oscos y Terras de Burón Biosphere Reserve. - Most noteworthy heritage sites Forges, mallets, ethnography, birthplace of the Marquis of Sargadelos, handcrafted jet, iron knives and looms. - Uses for which it is recognised Rambling, nature, rights of way. - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath Nature, ethnography, rambling. - Predominant type of surface Traditional footpath and woodland trail. - Peak seasons Mainly in summer during peak season, but it is used all round, and particularly popular at weekends and bank holidays. 52 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed Un marco legal MAP para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 53 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development Un marco legal para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://www.santaeulaliadeoscos.es http://www.oscoseoturismo.com 54 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Els Ports FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath None - Technical name for the footpath GR 7-GR 8 - Total length GR 7: 550 kilometres, GR 8: 353 kilometres. SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Aragón, Cataluña and Comunidad Valenciana. - Provinces Teruel, Tarragona and Castellón. - Local districts – Island Baix Maestrat, Matarraña, Montsìa - Municipalities passed through Pobla de Benifassa, Beceite, La Senia, Paüls. - Villages and towns passed through El Boixar, Fredes, Beceite - Developer GR-7 Section passing through the autonomous region of Valencia: Regional Government of Valencia-Department of Infrastructure, Territory and Environment (Greenway programme) GR-7 Catalan Sector: Federació D’Eentitats Excursionistes de Catalunya-FEEC (Catalan Federation of Ramblers Associations). GR-8. Aragonese Sector. Not specified. - Entity responsible for maintenance GR-7 Sector passing through the autonomous region of Valencia: Department of Infrastructure, Territory and Environment (Greenway programme) GR-7 Sector passing through the autonomous region of Catalonia: Unió Excursionista de Catalunya de Tortosa / La Joca Club Alpi / Club Excursionista Refalgarí - Opening date GR-7 Sector passing through the autonomous region of Valencia: First marked in 1981; GR-7 Sector passing through Catalonia: 1978; GR-8 Aragonese Sector: 1989 55 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development - Start El Boixar –province of Castellón (GR-7) Font Ferrera refuge in the province of Tarragona (GR-8) - Finish El Caro refuge in the province of Tarragona (GR-7); Beceite in the province of Teruel (GR-8) - Distance selected 33,200 km(GR-7) 25,940 km(GR-8) MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 4; 3 Orientation during the route: 3; 2 Walking difficulty: 3; 3 Amount of effort required: 3; 4 - Number and type of natural areas passed through Natural Parks of Els Ports (Catalonia) and Tinença de Benifassa (Autonomous Community of Valencia), SPAs for the conservation of wild birds and Sites of Community Importance in relation with the Natura 2000 Networking Programme throughout the entire area of the three Autonomous Communities - Most noteworthy heritage sites Traditional urban settlements of El Boixar, Fredes and Beceite - Uses for which it is recognised GR-7 Valencia Sector: rambling and hiking; GR-7 Catalan Sector: rambling and hiking; GR-8 rambling and hiking - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath Landscape; short hikes. The itinerary has great potential since it passes through various bioclimatic zones and is the place where Euro-Siberian relict species come face to face with the vegetation typical of the Mediterranean with a profusion of endemic plants. The variation in altitude, orientation and substrata make this region, with its unique habitats, extremely important. Furthermore, from a geological and geomorphological standpoint, this area marks the beginning of the Iberian massif, where the Mesozoic layer has adjusted to the movement of the basement rocks. The diversity of the bedrock (shales, clays, conglomerates, limestone, sandstone, etc.) offers up countless different landforms, which give rise to landscapes of great quality and visual variety. The original route of the path has been preserved in some places, particularly around Fredes and Beceite. - Predominant type of surface Track and paths with a width of less than 3 metres and woodland trails - Peak seasons Spring and autumn. 56 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed Un marco legal MAP para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 57 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://www.rutasyviajes.net/gr-pr/gr7/gr7-valencia.html http://www.fam.es/web/gr/gr8 http://www.euro-senders.com/web _ cas/framesgr.htm Un marco legal para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. 58 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Ruta Don Quijote FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath Ruta Don Quijote (the Don Quixote Route) - Technical name for the footpath Ruta Don Quijote (the Don Quixote Route). A place for adventure. “European Cultural Route” - Total length 2443,438 kilometres SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Castilla-La Mancha - Provinces Cuenca - Local districts – Island Mancha de Montearagón or Mancha Conquense - Municipalities passed through Belmonte, Villaescusa de Haro, Osa de la Vega, Fuentelespino de Haro. - Villages and towns passed through Belmonte, Villaescusa de Haro, Osa de la Vega, Fuentelespino de Haro. - Developer “Don Quijote de la Mancha,S.A.” (public company) - Entity responsible for maintenance Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha. - Opening date 2004 - Start Belmonte, (Cuenca). - Finish Belmonte, (Cuenca). - Distance selected 50 kilometres 59 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 2 Orientation during the route: 1 Walking difficulty: 1 Amount of effort required: 2 - Number and type of natural areas passed through None. - Most noteworthy heritage sites Belmonte: manor and castle of the Marquis of Villena, (15th c.). Villaescusa de Haro: Parish Church of St Peter’s, (Chapel of the Assumption, a Cultural Heritage Site), Church of the Monastery of Dominican Friars, the Ramírez Arellano Palace, Church of the Justinian Monastery, possible Roman baths. Osa de la Vega: Church of the Assumption, Roman mine in Fuentelespino de Haro: Haro Castle and Blanco Mill. - Uses for which it is recognised Walking, cycling, horse-riding, people with limited mobility. - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath The starting point is the theoretical one from the book, although the references in Cervantes’ text are vague. - Predominant type of surface Agricultural trails (95% of the route can be covered in a conventional vehicle). - Peak seasons Not known. 60 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed Un marco legal MAP para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 61 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://www.turismocastillalamancha.com Un marco legal para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. 62 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Vía de La Plata FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath Via de la Plata (the Silver Way). - Technical name for the footpath GR 100. - Total length 800 kilometres. SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Castilla y León, Extremadura. - Provinces Cáceres, Salamanca. - Local districts – Island Extremadura: District of Valle del Ambroz. Salamanca: Judicial Party of Béjar, District of Alba de Tormes. - Municipalities passed through Béjar, Cantagallo, Puerto de Béjar. - Villages and towns passed through Aldeanueva del Camino, Hervás, Baños de Montemayor, Fuenterroble de Salvatierra, Calzada de Béjar, Valverde de Valdelacasa. - Developer Without there being a developer for the current route, there is however a Cooperation Network of Cities on the Ruta de la Plata (Silver Way), founded in 1997 for the purpose of defending and promoting their own tourist, historical, cultural and economic resources. - Entity responsible for maintenance None, although the Biosphere Reserve in the Sierra de Béjar and Sierra de Francia mountain ranges still maintain some sort of vertical signage and the GR waymarkings. - Opening date 7th century BC - Start Aldeanueva del Camino, (Hervás) 63 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development - Finish Fuenteroble de Salvatierra, (Guijuelo) - Distance selected 42 kilometres MIDE: - Number and type of natural areas passed through Biosphere Reserve in the Sierra de Béjar and Sierra de Francia. Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia Natural Park, and the future protected natural areas of Candelario and Quilamas. Natura 2000 Networking Programme, such as the Special Protected Areas (SPAs) for the Conservation of Wild Birds in the Sierras Candelario, Quilamas, Batuecas-Sierra de Francia, and the River Alagón and its tributaries, along with the Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) in the Candelario, Quilamas, and Batuecas-Sierra de Francia mountain ranges, the River Alagón and its tributaries, the River Tormes and its tributaries and the valley of the River Cuerpo de Hombre. Area of Importance for the Conservation of the Black Stork - Most noteworthy heritage sites Bridge over the vulture’s gorge, Church of Nuestra Señora del Olmo, Church of San Servando (Aldeanueva del Camino), ancient spa and Roman baths, Church of Santa María, Church of Santa Catalina, (Baños de Montemayor), Hermitage of El Humilladero, Church of the Assumption and Roman Fort, (Bejar), Church of Santiago, (Valdelacasa), Church of Santa María la Blanca, (Fuenterroble de Salvatierra) - Uses for which it is recognised In the past it was used to link the towns in the South with those in the North, passing through the important axis of movement of Roman troops, until now when it is used for recreational purposes by tourists and ramblers, cyclists, pilgrims and for horse-riding, and rights of way leading to farms, etc. - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath Rambling and cycling activities, golf, tourist, cultural and gastronomic routes, nature trail (bird watching). It is included as part of the “Way of St James” known as “Camino Mozárave”. - Predominant type of surface Roman road, dirt track used as a service road leading to farmlands, occasionally paved with concrete (this part actually being the main road). - Peak seasons All year round, although mainly in spring and autumn. 64 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed MAP FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 65 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://www.rutadelaplata.com Un marco legal para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. 66 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed FOOTPATH SUMMARY Vía Verde Subbética FOOTPATH - Popular names for the footpath Olive Oil Train Greenway in the Subbéticas mountain range. - Technical name for the footpath Vía Verde de la Subbética. (Subbética Greenway). - Total length 37,37 kilometres SECTION ANALYSED - Autonomous Communities Andalusia. - Provinces Córdoba - Local districts – Island District of La Subbética. - Municipalities passed through Lucena (18,4 km), Cabra (15,3 km), Doña Mencía (3,5 km), Zuheros (5,2 km), Luque (14,9 km). - Villages and towns passed through Lucena, Cabra, Doña Mencía, Zuheros, Luque and las Navas del Selpillar (pedanía de Lucena). - Developer Greenways Programme at the initiative of the Association of municipalities - Entity responsible for maintenance Consortium of the Vía Verde de la Subbética, (Federation, Provincial Council and Town Councils). Hierro. - Opening date 2002 - Start This Greenway starts at the viaduct over the River Guadajoz, which forms the natural border between Jaen and Córdoba, in the area known as “La Loma de las Peñuelas”. It is here that it links up with the Vía Verde del Aceite (Olive Oil Train Greenway), which goes through the province of Jaen. By linking the two Greenways, the Subbética Greenway and Olive Oil Greenway, the footpath covers almost all of the old railway line used by the Olive Oil Train. 67 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development - Finish From the station at Las Navas del Selpillar, the trail stretches a few more kilometres until it reaches the border between the two municipalities of Lucena and Aguilar in an area known as the “Cerro del Puntal” - Distance selected 56 kilometres MIDE: Severity of the natural surroundings: 1 Orientation during the route: 1 Walking difficulty: 1 Amount of effort required: 5 - Number and type of natural areas passed through Two, La Laguna del Salobral Nature Reserve and Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park. Other protected sites that fall within the latter are the ones located in the Sierras Subbéticas Geopark, the Sierra Subbética Site of Community Importance and the Sierra Subbética Special Protected Area for the Conservation of Wild Birds. - Most noteworthy heritage sites Original track belonging to a heritage railway line, restored and reconditioned for its current use. An unlit tunnel: El Plantio. Four metal viaducts: La Sima, Zuheros, Los Dientes de la Vieja, El Barranco del Alamedal. Five train stations and a halt, in most cases reconditioned for restaurant and cafeteria services.. - Uses for which it is recognised Tourist, eco-friendly and sports route: rambling, jogging, cycling, and also appropriate for people confined to wheelchairs. - Theme-related potential recognised for the footpath Health circuit as an element of local development - Predominant type of surface Mixed surface: tarmac and compacted earth. - Peak seasons All year round. 68 Characterisation of the footpaths analysed Un marco legal MAP para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. FOOTPATH ANALYSED PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES SECTION ANALYSED NATURA 2000 NETWORK ROAD NETWORK 69 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development SIGNIFICANT PHOTO WEB LINK http://www.viasverdes.com/ViasVerdes Un marco legal para el desarrollo sostenible del medio rural. 70 71 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development study data Once Una the field had been completed and vez work concluido el trabajo de campo the datayobtained fromlos thedatos worksheets hada recopilados obtenidos been compiled, this was procestravés de lasinformation fichas de trabajo, se ha sed using two different approaches. The firsta procesado la información atendiendo was qualitative, designed to reflect the geodos enfoques. El primero, cualitativo, graphical, social environment vienehistorical a reflejarand el entorno geográfico, of the path, along withdel revitalising the como area, histórico y social sendero, así the enhancement of its heritage and its pola dinamización del territorio, la tential puesta for use.enThe second, was quanvalor de suwhich patrimonio y sus titative, used statistical methods to make the oportunidades de aprovechamiento. findings more objective. This was all used El segundo, cuantitativo, ha utilizado to support the métodos conclusions of the study and estadísticos para la has led to a number recommendations. objetivación deofresultados. Todo ello ha servido de sustento a las conclusiones del estudio y ha permitido proponer una serie de recomendaciones. FEADER 72 STUDY DATA QUALITATIVE DATA 500 kilometres of footpaths in 11 Autonomous Communities may be representative Approximately 500 kilometres of ten waymarked paths give us an interesting idea of the general features of this type of local resource, which is becoming increasingly more significant in terms of strategies for developing these geographic areas that have opted to recover their local trails and the heritage associated with them, in an effort to revitalise their socio-economic structures. An analytical procedure that is applied to all footpaths The starting point is a common analytical procedure consisting of a broad range of items that begins with the technical identification of the path and its recognised route, then moves on to review its historical and social coordinates, and finishes with an examination of its economic and business dimension. Through the combined use of various research techniques, primary sources are exploited, for example, direct observation through the use of field work and interviews, and secondary sources, such as reviewing documents and collecting statistical data. This is all put together to form a footpath file to see which features they do or do not have in common so as to determine their general characterisation. The difficulty of obtaining economic data for small villages However, it should be borne in mind that it is hard to obtain information on certain key aspects, particularly of an economic or business nature, for the purpose of assessing the real impact of waymarked trails on the areas they pass through. These are small towns, whose business weaknesses need to be determined. And when such data is indeed collected, there is often a great deal of disparity, which enhances the interest of this study inasmuch as it suggests spheres of information in need of improvement so as to provide data that will enable us to investigate the repercussions of the web of waymarked trails criss-crossing the geography of Spain with sufficient perspective. Footpaths offer numerous possibilities That said, we can indicate that there is no such thing as a typical profile for footpaths, with their heterogeneity being the feature that really defines them. Their reconditioning depends on a number of different factors in regions that are differentiated by various bodies over a lengthy period of time, albeit in most cases supported by the notable uses the trails were put to in former times. This increases their wealth and the interest aroused by having a huge network of hiking trails available that are never duplicated, with each one having its own special characteristics. 73 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development The group of paths selected stands out because of its diversity, as pointed out earlier, and this is even visible in their name: trail, track, footpath, route, network. These are emblematic footpaths both on a regional and national level, and even form part of huge projects involving thematic itineraries, such as the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James), Vía de la Plata (the Silver Way), Camí de Cavalls or the Don Quixote Route. As noted, the majority have been given a thematic name in an attempt to mark them out and make them more noticeable, particularly with regard to tourism, linking them, by and large, with relevant events in the history of Spain and its regions. The trails represent an important tool of communication linking all types of location, albeit small or large, rural or urban, and have therefore had a prominent role to play both socially and territorially. This fact is increasingly being taken into consideration in their re-design, or when reviewing their itinerary to turn them into footpaths so that they can influence the processes of development on both a local and regional scale. Their contribution is also relevant with regard to the “location on the map” of institutions, and even whole districts that do not have a marked demo-economic significance. The footpaths are long-distance, and are divided into more or less formal stages, which helps the walker make a coherent selection of the sections they wish to cover. This fact is worthy of note since there are a great many sections that are known to coincide with certain “regional areas” in which hiking activities would seem to make a relevant contribution to local development. Footpaths maintain their territorial roots The relationship of trails with protected areas is clear, and is fomented through the strategies that are implemented in the planning and promotion of protected natural areas for public use. This is a remarkable prospect since the trails help make it possible to see the whole of the protected heritage site which is of such enormous value. We find Rural Parks, Natural Parks, Protected Landscapes, Nature Reserves, Geoparks, Areas of Importance for Conservation, Natural Areas of Special Interest, Biosphere Reserves, as well as areas that are included in the Natura 2000 Networking Programme (SCIs and SPAs). Therefore, the surroundings, environments and geo-bioclimatic locations they pass through offer an enormous breadth and wealth that lend added value to these itineraries. Dynamic link with protected areas Something similar also happens with heritage items associated with human actions on the geographic environment. From the mapping out of the route itself to the construction and technological components involved in opening and maintaining the trail over the course of time, along with the cultural features and landscapes that are to be found along the way and which give the path its own hallmark of identity. The catalogue is extensive and varied, and includes environments that may be anthropised to a greater or lesser extent, with huge contrasts, ranging from archaeological sites to modern urban centres. The footpaths examined help make them more visible, particularly in the case of elements that are outside the areas most frequented by the local people. They also help articulate them in coherent itineraries, which, in many cases has an impact on how they are maintained in connection with the development of tourist visits. The footpath represents traditional heritage projected into the future Footpaths perform an important social and territorial function 74 STUDY DATA QUALITATIVE DATA The footpath keeps the history alive of the places it passes through Significant historical sites, urban centres, traditional and folk architecture, railway heritage; religious buildings such as cathedrals, churches, collegiate churches, convents, chapels, shrines, and crosses, thermal baths, spas and hot springs; palaces and castles; water-related elements, such as bridges across streams, fountains, washing places, or cisterns; craftsmen’s workshops; aspects of traditional deep-rooted productive activities, for instance, farming, grazing and stock-raising (particularly cattle trails), fishing, hunting, forestry. And we should not forget the trail itself with its broad range of associated elements serving as basic resources, bearing in mind that there are Roman roads and paved roads dating from all periods, along with a notable culture of dry-stone walling. There is also a large network of livestock trails that were of great historical and commercial value in their time. The footpath unites different administrative bodies in a common project With respect to administrative boundaries, footpaths normally cover huge areas and are often not confined to a single province or even a single region. However, this does not always lead to homogeneity in the various routes since the same criteria have not always been used when adapting them to sports activities. Nevertheless, this contrasts with the occasional search for management and promotionary tools that can be shared amongst the different footpaths, such as consortia, networks of cooperatives or public companies that can promote the harnessing of public and private contributions. Thus, developers include town councils, federations of municipalities, provincial councils, island councils, regional governments and even ministerial bodies, to which should be added private entities, ranging from ramblers’ associations to river basin authorities, amongst others. Commitment to rambling is not only to be seen in opening up a footpath but above all in managing and maintaining it There is not always a specific budget earmarked for their execution and maintenance, with such aspects often being covered by funding from various public authorities, frequently taking advantage of employment and job-placement schemes, tourist campaign initiatives, rural development programmes, etc. The most common procedure is for budgets to be determined for converting trails into marked paths, but not for their subsequent maintenance. This aspect is often dealt with by groups of less importance and lacking in continuity, which can have a negative effect on the homogeneity of the routes and on the quality of the rambling activity at the tourist destination. The lack of a proper management and maintenance programme can kill a tourist initiative in next to no time. In this respect, it is not always feasible to fix an opening date for a footpath, or determine successive improvements or modifications wherever these exist. 75 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development Half of the footpaths under discussion were opened during the first ten years of the 21st century, and can therefore be considered to be recent, even though most of them follow routes that have been used since time immemorial or that are traditional, and almost invariably public rights of way. The extension of the modern transport infrastructure would appear to be their main enemy since their most recent adaptations are linked with the modernisation of road and rail networks, along with plans for improving country roads that sometimes do not take into account the protection of the old road and its signposting. Amongst others, variations can also be due to legal or social disputes with the owners of the land through which they pass, to the misappropriation of public rights of way by private individuals, to interventions to make them safer, to the desire to include them in the urban development of certain towns, or the initiatives to enhance their scenic value. Footpaths that are more closely connected to the natural surroundings, and provisions for their legal protection, would seem to enjoy greater stability regarding routes, and in some conditions are included as part of the public rights of way within the framework of protected natural areas. Traditional trails are transformed into marked paths The history of most trails that provide a basis for the footpaths under study goes back a long way. Hence, they have been put to a large variety of uses and have been traversed by many different people for a multitude of reasons (military, religious, commercial, hunting, etc.). In recent years, such uses have also included recreation, sports and tourist activities, such as excursions, rambling, cross country runs, cycling tours, and mountain biking, horse riding, etc. Certain sections also include health circuits for the local population, since they connect up with the urban network and are designed for non-motorised means of transport. This shows the incalculable value of the footpath, from its ethnological and historical references to those concerning sports, preventive medicine or the interpretation of heritage. The footpath links tradition with modernity The thematic potential of the different routes is also significant. The footpaths forming part of this study in fact offer the opportunity to prepare various themes from an interpretative standpoint, mainly because of the importance of the tracks and trails themselves, and the environments they pass through. As already noted, some of these concern a main theme (social symbol or promotional brand) enjoying huge visibility and impact. Length is also a factor that can have an influence on the breadth and diversity of the path’s potential, since it articulates huge areas, in which historical, architectural, literary, ethnographic, religious, gastronomic, scenic, infrastructural, geomorphological, botanical, water or nature-related aspects (amongst others) may all be prominent. Likewise, hiking and rambling are also significant activities for exploiting the aforementioned potential of thematic elements. The thematic potential of the footpath is rich and varied 76 STUDY DATA QUALITATIVE DATA 77 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development With respect to the physical conditions of the footpaths, we should point out the enormous heterogeneity observed, even when considering the same footpath. From original cobblestones, with an overlap of different construction periods, to sections paved with tarmac, there is a wide range of surfaces: country lanes and farm tracks, roads paved with concrete, cattle trails and narrow paths, traditional trails for exploiting natural resources, urban alleyways, promenades, and footpaths along river banks and shorelines, etc. The Roman roads contrast with the pavements of modern towns. Alterations that have taken place over the years are still visible in most cases. And many have also been adapted for the passage of motor vehicles, both in connection with the development of productive activities in the area and also for the use of private individuals. On the other hand, some footpaths have been adapted and made partly accessible to people with limited mobility. Different types of road surface are used throughout the network The most frequent use of these footpaths varies, depending to a large extent on the environment or weather conditions, along with the tourist season and preferences of the local population. It is not possible to establish general guidelines, although there are many that have a high degree of potential use throughout the entire year. The longer they are also influences such variability. Those that are most affected by exceptional weather conditions are the paths with a more marked degree of seasonality, mainly as a result of harsh winters or summers (snow, frost and hail, heatwaves, extreme differences in temperature, storms, strong winds, etc.). This is all aggravated by the possible absence of places to take shelter from the elements or the lack of water and provisions, aspects that are not taken into account when designing the footpath. Seasonality may affect the appeal of the footpath to tourists The possible absence of places to shelter from inclement weather or the lack of water and provisions, the absence of various amenities along the route, etc. which were not taken into account when designing the trail, make the proposal unfeasible. The lack of additional items to ensure greater safety and comfort for the user, not only affects the use of the path, but also creates a negative image of the site in the eyes of the visitor, who will go in search of other footpaths as an alternative offering greater quality and attention to ramblers’ needs. A footpath design that does not take the type of user into account limits its use The study we have undertaken also shows that sometimes approval of long-distance footpaths is dispensed with but institutional recognition is sought, and occasionally formalised, through international awards. It should also be noted that some paths form part of citizens’ initiatives to recover traditional trails that have been maintained over the course of time. Here, what is important is the role the volunteer has played in developing the projects to refurbish, implement and maintain the path, particularly in conjunction with federations and clubs involving various sports, or of a residential or cultural nature, etc. On occasion, they form part of larger projects, which may even be supranational in some cases. A long road to accreditation 78 STUDY DATA QUALITATIVE DATA Footpaths reveal the history of the communities they pass through The layout of the paths, which aims to cover the whole country, is one of the systems that provides a framework for the largest number of historical aspects in Spain. Its gradual extension covering a large part of the country means that very few significant facts and features escape the web of the footpath, whose memory evaporates into the past. This can be seen when the footpaths selected are taken as a whole, even when only specific sections have been studied in depth. By studying the trails, it is possible to trace the history, the way of life and communications of the various towns, districts and regions. Whether small or large, anonymous or of paramount importance, the selected paths provide access to this important legacy in a structured manner, recovering the collective heritage that is made available to locals and visitors alike. Rambling confers a new value on traditional trails While the configuration of the selected paths is relatively recent, the trails that support them harbour relevant history, both of their own making and pertaining to the surroundings that bring them together. They also offer evidence of the development of rambling in Spain and of the progress made in marking trails, which offers added interest to the notable heritage values they have already accumulated, in some cases on a global scale, which has garnered the distinction of awards and recognition, as we have mentioned above. Structural axes of such significance as the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James), which is a European cultural itinerary, the Vía de la Plata, Camino del Ebro, or the Don Quixote Route. 79 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development The processes involved in recovering the trails that serve to provide support and structure for the modern itineraries have on the whole been interesting, due in large part to the participation of a number of public and private stakeholders. These processes have led in many cases to the tabling of provisions and laws that highlight their protection and schemes that focus on their promotion, usually with respect to local development, which seeks low-impact activities and contact with such heritage. It is a positive starting point providing a basis for future initiatives that can contribute to extending the current network of paths from the existing infrastructure. The recovery of public rights of way renews communication between public and private stakeholders Footpaths uphold the socio-historical value of infrastructure that was far more relevant in the past, as is the case of the Roman roads, royal cattle trails, railway lines, commercial routes or pilgrims’ ways, also recovering routes with a military, religious, commercial, or literary interest, among others. Their importance has led them to be described and mapped on many occasions, and hence they also help fix our attention on their future and that of the lands they pass over, and in so doing, contribute a really impressive documentary legacy with various offshoots, albeit scientific or of a social and economic nature. The documentary legacy left by the trails over the centuries is recovered 80 STUDY DATA QUALITATIVE DATA The footpath showcases the contrasts of different regions Likewise, they have also become important economic and cultural axes in the lands they pass through, characterised by their huge diversity, and dotted with places with a range of quite distinctive features, from mountain environments to urban centres. They thus provide glimpses of deep contrasts between densely populated cities and small hamlets with only a handful of residents. Their itineraries enable us to witness the vitality of some places as opposed to the stagnation and even a step backwards displayed by others, as they have been opened up for the hiker and inhabitant of such forgotten lands that are nevertheless still full of charm. Footpaths offer small towns an opportunity The footpaths pass through geographical areas where the predominant trend is the reinforcement of the demographics in the most vibrant places socially and economically speaking, and the slow process of human attrition for smaller towns offering few expectations. Nevertheless, the trails do not perceive these differences and help connect all types of enclave, large and small, dynamic and stagnant, maintaining links that in many cases are the only way forward for entities that are excluded from the processes of overall development. Footpaths achieve their full significance when they are articulated in a network The concept of a network has been shown to be the most fertile since it enables us to move about the country and link up with the networks of neighbouring regions and to use these networks to gain access to territories outside the autonomous community and then to international networks. Good planning of new routes can help revitalise areas with significant limitations regarding their development, particularly if their heritage values are enhanced and synergies are also sought out between the different towns through supramunicipal urban planning for the management and integration of the footpath network and the tourist attractions. Footpaths trigger the recovery of more heritage resources The recovery of many trails and their transformation into footpaths leads to the development of initiatives to rescue and / or improve the other heritage resources located in their area and helps articulate them so that, over time, other revitalised elements emerge increasing the attractiveness of certain geographical regions. Churches, palaces, gathering places, fountains, gardens, archaeological sites are some of the many features that give shape to new spaces and environments that enrich the rambling experience. Footpaths can have a positive impact on the local economy As mentioned in the introduction, usual sources of information do not allow us to establish with any degree of precision the real impact of marked paths on the processes of development of the geographical surroundings that help forge relationships, even attracting opposing views within the same space. The general idea, however, is that this is a positive and growing phenomenon, particularly when linked to the extension of tourist activities that emphasise the value of heritage, albeit natural or cultural. That being the case, it is still quite difficult in a study of this nature to measure their effective repercussion, over and beyond the consequences that ensue during the progress of certain activities and services. 81 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development In this respect, it appears that the recent adjustment and promotion of many footpaths have yet to favour the emergence of initiatives or economic and business activity in the areas on which they have an impact. In certain cases, furthermore, they have to compete or co-exist with other sports, recreational and tourist attractions that have been developed in the same area. Some of these are also going through a modern expansion process, such as water sports, diving, cycling, mountain biking, equestrian trails, paragliding, etc. And finally, the boost to the sun, sea and sand tourist attraction is still important, which to some extent blinds us to the possibilities of progress displayed by hiking activities in some regions, where rambling can amount to a good complementary resource. It is difficult to isolate the impact of the footpath from that of other factors with local repercussions The obvious tourist possibilities of many trails that have now been transformed into marked paths have now become a reality, since they are an important attraction for visitors, particularly where it has been possible to structure them as a tourist product offering the client access in an organised fashion to a rich and extensive heritage legacy. This takes advantage of the rise in nature and cultural tourism, which have amounted to strategic factors of territorial development in recent decades. In this context, the concept of rambling holidays is still progressing satisfactorily, if we consider the positive bullish facts, provided, amongst others, by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade (Studies on nature tourism in Spain and mountain tourism products) and the associations of active tourism companies and rambling and mountaineering guides. The footpath can configure a tourist product along with other elements A priori, as mentioned, marked paths have strategic value in their respective geographical contexts, where they can have an impact on socio-demographic dynamism and help revitalise the economy, and also on themselves, and on account of infrastructure and facilities associated with the tourist sector, such as tourist information offices, eco-museums, interpretation centres, craft production and sales, camp sites, recreational areas, as well as restaurants, hotels and hostels right alongside the footpath, etc. Footpaths have strategic value in promoting a region The implantation of a footpath basically means creating a resource. Its contribution to development has a lot to do with its own characteristics but also with dynamism and the use to which it is put by the local stakeholders. It is true that some regions have organised themselves better than others to take advantage of the new possibilities offered by the footpaths, with the benefit to the nearest economy being very clear. In these areas, the specific services, whether specialised or adapted for ramblers, have been increased in view of the fact that the footpaths have been extended or improved, having a particular impact on the hotel and catering sector, personal services, transport, commerce, active leisure and tourist agencies and heritage interpretation facilities, etc. Footpaths have a direct impact on the expansion of the services sector 82 STUDY DATA QUALITATIVE DATA The services sector thrives on the traffic along the footpaths It is worth pointing out the role of the marked paths plus associated activities in maintaining previous activities, along with the development of specific services which might otherwise have disappeared or whose continuity would be seriously compromised, with their continued presence clearly benefitting local residents in certain places. In fact, many businessmen attempt to diversify their portfolios, by targeting both the local residents and the occasional visitors or passers-by. At certain times of the year, ramblers even supplant the regular inhabitants, who are absent, enabling existing businesses to remain open. Hence, the less seasonal it is, the greater the impact on the business sector. Networks of footpaths multiply the economic impact that each would have on its own The repercussions therefore seem to be all the greater when there is a network that can steer the rambler around a specific or limited area, for example, through the appropriate link-up of long and short-distance routes, and between these and local trails. This fact unquestionably merits our reflecting on the role played by long-distance paths of linear design, broken up into stages defined by relevant places along the route, with regard to the more complementary contribution of the paths to development of the local region. The joint visibility of footpaths and associated services boosts their tourist attraction Although a growing rate of participation has been recorded for the business initiative, it is noted that the relationship between the footpaths and companies needs to be improved in the areas where they co-exist, particularly from the perspective of tourist potential. Firstly, by making information available, enabling both offers and opportunities for their complementarity to be seen in an adequate and accessible fashion, by means of new technologies, for example. Attention should also be drawn to the need for coordination between organisations that come together in the same region, with joint actions to promote the paths and rambling activities. Public collaboration is important for developing the footpaths Usually important for developing a marked path and connecting it to the local economy is the existence of general programmes of a public nature, endowed with the economic resources to begin its promotion campaign in a specific geographical area. This is particularly the case if other public and private companies are added to this initiative, encouraged by the positive consequences that can be derived from the original action. The Nature Trails and Greenways programmes implemented by the Ministry of the Environment, and Rural and Marine Environment are cited as examples. TOURMAC in the Canary Islands, Leader initiatives and Tourist Revitalisation in Ports de Beceite or in different protected natural areas or mountain federation initiatives have made a significant contribution in this regard. However, a greater contribution of public resources does not imply a better outcome unless it is planned in accordance with the municipal authorities, the expectations of the local population and the initiatives involving private investment. 83 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development And while the public resources applied so far would seem to be insufficient, particularly if we want to maintain and even improve what has already been created, these have grown in recent years, attracting further funding, which has a positive effect on the configuration of the environments it is proposed to promote. There is a multiplying effect in consonance with the understanding that exists between the stakeholders interacting in the same region. The projects or structured initiatives seem to be the most successful, as is the case of the Cami dels Cavalls in Menorca, although it is imperative to beef up the plans for maintenance and promotion with the businessmen involved. Europe-wide events like EURORANDO, which congregate thousands of European ramblers on a footpath, are a way for tourists to go hiking and get to know a land and its tracks and trails. Rambling projects with a solid structure have greater visibility Finally, among the cases studied there seem to be a sufficient number of initiatives that can be considered suitable examples, best practices with a demonstrable effect that can be taken as a model for other regions that wish to go down the same route to promote rambling activities associated with adventure tourism, or leisure for the local population based on extending the network of marked paths. For this reason, the dissemination and exchange of these practices needs to be stepped up as a way of creating a real statewide network of marked footpaths that is perfectly articulated and planned. If this is done, there is no doubt that it will contribute to the processes of development at all levels all over the country. The exchange of experience enriches any future projects FEADER 84 STUDY DATA QUANTITATIVE DATA Analysis based on blocks of content The data obtained statistically to make a quantitative assessment as a result of applying the content from the observation sheet (incorporated in Chapter 2 on Methodology) can be used to gain an overview of the current situation of the trails in Spain and also to perform an analysis based on blocks of content: Block A: Trail itinerary and infrastructure. Block B: Tourist information and information systems for the trail. Block C: Use of the trail by the local population and town councils. Block D: The walker and the company. Their relationship with the trail. Block E: Quality elements identifying the trail Each block of information includes a final section of observations reflecting the observers’ comments as a separate item from the content recorded under the headings set out above, which reflect the elements that supply data for the study deemed to be significant. The correction factor was obtained with the aid of expert opinion. Once the 106 items making up the trail observation sheet had been selected (see Chapter 2 on Methodology), the ones considered to be most significant were identified by the group of experts. This was done by sharing the results obtained in the evaluation survey completed by each of the experts on each section of content appearing on the observation sheet. This produced a correction factor calculated as a weighted average in accordance with the results obtained, which was then applied to each of the 106 items on the observation sheet. This correction factor, which was designed to reduce the degree of subjectivity in the assessment offered by each expert, was applied to the results of the observations concerning the footpaths analysed, thus obtaining a greater degree of objectivity in the findings. Therefore, consensus was taken as the starting point for selecting the items with corrective values being obtained through the participation of all the experts. Finally, these corrective values were applied to each of the 106 items for each of the ten footpaths analysed. To obtain the correction factor, each expert indicated a value from 1 to 7 for each of the 106 items, in accordance with the value attributed to the content for such item. The correction factor has a high degree of reliability, when the following details are taken into consideration: • One item (0.94%) obtained a score of between 4 and 4.9. • There was no item (0%) with values of between 5 and 5.9. • Forty items (37.74%) obtained a score of between 6 and 6.9 out of the 7 points possible for each item • Sixty-five items (61.32%) obtained the maximum score of 7 points 85 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development PERCENTAGE ACCORDING TO VALUE OBTAINED FROM THE ITEMS 0,94% 37,74% 61,32% Questions with scores of between 4 and 4.9 Questions with scores of between 5 and 5.9 Questions with scores of between 6 and 6.9 Questions with scores of 7 points Once the final observation sheet had been adjusted using the various corrective ratings, it was applied to each of the footpaths proposed for the in-depth analysis. Thus, statistically, the assessment sheet has a 99.05% reliability rating for interpreting the data. By means of this system, a correction factor is assigned to the subjective opinion given in connection with any analysis of a footpath. The data obtained are set out below in accordance with the blocks of content specified in the observation sheet: Trail itinerary and infrastructure. There are two sub-sections: itinerary and infrastructure. In both cases a maximum score of 44.95 points and 157.25 points can be observed respectively. To make such data easier to use and comprehend, these scores have been converted into percentages in the preceding column. Itinerary. With respect to the data concerning the itinerary shown in Table 1, attention is drawn to the high percentages obtained by the Vía Verde Subbética (81.49%) and the Camino de la Virgen (79.20%). On the other hand, the lowest score was recorded by the Don Quixote Route (24.59%), followed by Ports de Beceit (47.13%). Seventy per cent of the footpaths have scores that are above average. To determine the scores in this section variables such as the tourist season, the trail’s own identifiable brand, the connection between trail networks and whether the footpaths are of a sports, cultural, environmental, or religious nature, or are associated with history were taken into account. With respect to the most significant data in this block, the experts’ assessment focused on the fact that the footpath was integrated in more extensive systems, including both networks of trails and tourist resources. The data obtained corroborate the fact that the footpaths analysed are complemented by other tourist resources (82%) and are articulated with networks of trails (78%), which is an important value for rural development. At the other end of the spectrum is the religious identification of these areas (28%). . 86 STUDY DATA QUANTITATIVE DATA Infrastructure. Regarding the infrastructure available on a footpath, we should point out that 60% of the paths analysed are above average. The Camino de La Virgen stands out with 77.06% and the Camí de Cavalls with 63.76%, whereas at the other end of the spectrum we have Ports de Beceit with 23.31% and the Don Quixote Route with 38.29%. To determine the scores for this section, the basic factors taken into account were safety, ancillary elements, vehicle access, location of the beginning of the stage, maintenance and the state of conservation, the availability of public transport, and the content of information panels. There are data showing that the institutions responsible for these footpaths are greatly concerned about the state of their installations, and consequently about their ability to attract visitors, which has an impact on rural development. The items referring to the link between the paths and heritage elements are rated very highly (88.2%) as is the presence of information boards (81.8%), how the information shown on the board tallies with reality (71.8%) or the state of conservation of the signage material (71.7%), but above all, they value the fact that the path can be accessed by motor vehicles (98%). We can conclude that the footpaths visited are in optimum condition for hiking. Furthermore, there are some circumstances that are very highly rated by the experts, such as the easy access to public transport (not taxis) to approach the start and finish of the route. However, this does not coincide with the reality of the itineraries, since only 58% of the footpaths are covered by these services. Table 1. Itinerary covered by the path and infrastructure available on the footpaths analysed ITINERARY % INFRASTRUCTURE % Maximum 44,95 100,00 157,25 100,00 Camí de Cavalls 31,15 69,30 100,27 63,76 Camino de La Virgen 35,60 79,20 121,18 77,06 Camino de Santiago 31,24 69,50 73,65 46,84 Camino del Ebro 20,87 46,42 82,13 52,23 Las Alpujarras 27,72 61,67 99,53 63,29 Los Oscos 22,46 49,97 97,60 62,07 Ports de Beceite 21,19 47,13 36,66 23,31 Ruta de Don Quijote 11,05 24,59 60,21 38,29 Vía de La Plata 30,95 68,84 68,86 43,79 Vía Verde Subbética 36,63 81,49 100,08 63,64 In the blocks of content appearing on the observation sheet there are some interesting comments referring to the variety of markings, deficient signage and maintenance, along with the 87 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development need to increase the Information referring to the environmental conditions, location, transport, etc. Tourist information and information systems for the trail. This block addresses the information on tourism concerning the footpath, as well as the advertising and promotion campaigns used to make it well known. The maximum score that can be obtained for information is 54.40 whereas for information systems it is 30.50 (Table 2). Tourist information. With respect to the score for tourist information we find that nearly 80% of the paths score above the average for the data obtained, with the Camino de Santiago standing out with one of the highest scores (86.78%), while the path with the bottom rank in the table is the Vía de la Plata, which has a low score (5.51%). The elements taken into account when assessing this section were: experience at the tourist office, advertising in situ, facilities offered by companies, organisation of an organised tourist product, dissemination through Internet websites, etc. The data shows that it is possible to find specific information on the footpath at the tourist offices in the towns along the route (62.9%). However, information offices are few and far between on the footpath itself (63.1%), although the experts do not think this is very important. With respect to websites, the information was found to be very poor in comparison with equivalent data offered on the information panels along the path (30.4%) and in information allowing the use of new technologies (21.8%) Information systems. With respect to the efficiency of the information systems used to find out about the footpath, Los Oscos network of trails stands out with a score of 96.52% of the possible points that can be obtained, followed by the Camino de la Virgen with 96.36%. At the bottom of the table we find Els Ports de Beceit (6.82%) and the Don Quixote Route (20.75%). However, we can also reveal that 80% of the footpaths analysed have a score that is above average. FEADER 88 STUDY DATA QUANTITATIVE DATA Guides and brochures are available for all of the trails. In this section we considered the quality and currency of the information in the guides and brochures published. It is notable that a large number of paths have information in a publication that came out less than five years ago (77.8%) with this publication containing information on the natural and cultural heritage (74.0%). On the other hand, the information normally expected to be found on information boards along a trail is missing (54.0%), which would seem to indicate that it is more geared towards tourism. Furthermore, the thing the experts rate most highly is the fact that it is possible to obtain guidebooks for the trails, and even though the information given is not bad (66.0%), there is room for improvement in view of the importance given to such publications. Table 2. Tourist information and information systems for the footpaths analysed. INFORMATION % SYSTEM % Maximum 54,40 100,00 30,50 100,00 Camí de Cavalls 26,84 49,34 18,19 59,64 Camino de la Virgen 41,74 76,73 29,39 96,36 Camino de Santiago 47,21 86,78 27,38 89,77 Camino del Ebro 9,38 17,24 19,56 64,13 Las Alpujarras 46,88 86,18 24,66 80,85 Los Oscos 26,39 48,51 29,44 96,52 Ports de Beceite 12,24 22,50 2,08 6,82 Ruta de Don Quijote 7,93 14,58 6,33 20,75 Vía de La Plata 3,00 5,51 22,62 74,16 Vía verde Subbética 37,49 68,92 24,94 81,77 Final observations focus on the existence and validity of sources of information: websites, guidebooks, along with tourist information offices. Private institutions are looked at that promote the footpath, at their own expense, or a section of it, in accordance with their own interests. Use of the trail by the local population and town councils. The data in this block of content attempts to identify the use made of the footpath and involvement of the public authorities. The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St James) and Las Alpujarras are the footpaths with the highest percentage 80% and 79.56% respectively. On the other hand, Els Ports de Beceit and the Vía de La Plata are below average with scores of 15.93% and 36.59% respectively. As a whole, 60% of the footpaths have scores that are above average. 89 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development In assessing this block of content, consideration was given to their use by the local population and by education centres, along with uses for farming and raising livestock, collaboration in their upkeep, use of local meeting places, selective refuse collection or social participation. This section offers us a reality of paramount importance where rural development is concerned. On the one hand, there is appreciation for the high degree of interest shown by those that encouraged the waymarking of the footpath, since they used public rights of way (90.2%), mapped out a route running through relevant parts of the area (86.4%) which also included the town’s regular meeting places (60.6%). However, at that time social participation in the project was very low (24.2%), and nowadays the footpath is not used very much by the local residents (58%) or by the education centres (52%), although no conflicts exist between the local population and the ramblers (36%) Table 3. Use of the footpaths analysed by the local population and the town councils of the footpaths analysed. USE % Maximum 63,40 100 Camí de Cavalls 45,85 72,32 Camino de la Virgen 35,81 56,48 Camino de Santiago 50,72 80,00 Camino del Ebro 28,77 45,38 Las Alpujarras 50,44 79,56 Los Oscos 34,76 54,83 Ports de Beceite 10,10 15,93 Ruta de Don Quijote 25,33 39,95 Vía de La Plata 23,20 36,59 Vía verde Subbética 36,37 57,37 When performing the analysis of the most significant observations, it was surprising to see the poor level of participation of the towns linked to the design of the path. On the other hand, greater involvement is indeed apparent with regard to use, whether for health reasons, education, religion, the passage of agricultural machinery, rights of way to private property, or for use by companies (active tourism). Both the town councils and the town in general profit from improvements in infrastructure and all the more so when the route is made to coincide with the public spaces used by the local population. It is recorded in this section that most of the responsibility for maintaining the footpath belongs to the public authorities (town councils, provincial councils, island councils, local boards and committees, etc.). However, this commitment to maintenance is not dealt with in any document, which can at times lead to a certain deficit as far as conservation is concerned. 90 STUDY DATA QUANTITATIVE DATA The walker and the company. In this block of content an attempt is made to identify the level of involvement on the part of the walker and companies specialising in the footpath, since they are the ones that use it for their own purposes and activities. The walker. With respect to the relationship between the footpath and the walker, it is the Vía de La Plata (79.52%) and Las Alpujarras (77.53%) that come closest to the maximum score. On the other hand, the Vía Verde Subbética (23.21%) and the Camino de La Virgen (35.51%) are the ones that are furthest away, ranking at the bottom of the table. However, 70% of the footpaths analysed get more than the average score. To assess this section, attention was paid to the tourist profile of the walker, their age and origin, and whether they do the activity in a group or on their own. From the data obtained, it can be seen that people between 18 and 65 years of age are the ones that use the trails most (89.9%) and it appears that the profile of the walker is primarily that of a tourist (74.3%), which enables promotion campaigns to be managed from inside the environs of the tourist system. On the other hand, we should point out that the number of foreign hikers on these trails is very low (34.4%). Local companies. With respect to the relationship companies enjoy with the footpath, the highest score obtained was that of the Vía Verde Subbética (77.28%), followed by Las Alpujarras (73.39%). However, this statistic is in stark contrast with the score obtained by the same footpath with respect to the walker, and shows that what is right for the rambler is not necessarily so for the company. 91 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development To assess this section, attention was paid to local participation in the companies, transport companies, those offering activities on the trail, catering businesses and companies involved in adventure tourism. With respect to rural development, the foundations seem solid since the businesses associated with the footpath belong to the local town (74%), with local residents being hired as workers (58%). However, the data show that the involvement of local companies with the footpath is very low in terms of offering activities linked to the trail (51.8%), offering them by advertising through the catering sector (50.4%), or because they have created adventure tourism companies involving the footpath (60%). Table 4. Scores for involvement by the walker and company specialising in the footpaths analysed WALKER % COMPANY % Maximum 31,20 100,00 36,45 100 Camí de Cavalls 18,02 57,76 15,89 43,59 Camino de la Virgen 11,08 35,51 19,49 53,47 Camino de Santiago 17,20 55,13 16,51 45,29 Camino del Ebro 15,54 49,81 15,26 41,87 Las Alpujarras 24,19 77,53 26,75 73,39 Los Oscos 18,26 58,53 17,31 47,49 Ports de Beceite 15,69 50,29 19,17 52,59 Ruta de Don Quijote 12,22 39,17 16,46 45,16 Vía de La Plata 24,81 79,52 4,16 11,41 Vía verde Subbética 7,24 23,21 28,17 77,28 Adventure tourism companies associated with activities involving footpaths are primarily demanded by foreign groups, particularly from northern Europe and large package tours. There are companies with environmental backgrounds that use these routes for training and educational purposes. Elements identifying the quality of the footpath. There are elements that identify quality in this respect. Bearing in mind that the maximum number of points that can be scored is 81.35, seventy per cent of the trails fail to record quality standards. The lowest score was that of the Don Quixote Route (25.31%) while the highest score was obtained by Los Oscos (80.10%). Two of the footpaths analysed, Los Oscos and Las Alpujarras, offer scores ranging from 78% to 81%, whereas most do not reach 50% and therefore we can say that the data are highly polarised at the top and bottom, as well as being highly concentrated. 92 STUDY DATA QUANTITATIVE DATA To assess this block of information, we looked at the protected areas through which the trails pass, whether they have their own regulations, whether they have been endorsed by FEDME, whether they are linked to other trail networks, whether the risks associated with the trail are published, whether they are free of noise other than that associated with the natural environment, whether they avoid roads or factories, whether it is possible to receive a mobile phone signal, whether they have a procedure for filing opinions, whether there are sections appropriate for people with limited mobility. First of all, it should be remembered that half the sections of the footpaths analysed have the current endorsement of FEDME (52.0%), this being a way of setting quality standards, with the data from the study indicating that three quarters of the paths are linked to other trail networks (72%). It is not very common for footpaths to come into contact with roads or factories (36%) or constructive elements that are not part of the natural surroundings (44%). Such data boost the potential of the footpath as an outdoor activity enjoying the natural environment. However, no attempt has been made by the people responsible for the footpath to investigate further in other levels of environmental quality, such as inclusion in the local Agenda 21 programme (12%) or other environmental quality awards (30%). If we think that having a mobile signal is a safety element l (70%), there is still a long way to go in rural development, since it is practically ubiquitous in urban environments Table 5. Scores relating to quality and the elements that identify it on a footpath QUALITY % Maximum 81,35 100 Camí de Cavalls 44,16 54,28 Camino de la Virgen 33,29 40,92 Camino de Santiago 20,70 25,45 Camino del Ebro 31,21 38,37 Las Alpujarras 64,22 78,94 Los Oscos 65,16 80,10 Ports de Beceite 23,35 28,70 Ruta de Don Quijote 20,59 25,31 Vía de La Plata 34,27 42,13 Vía verde Subbética 39,36 48,38 The following are considered significant for assessing the quality of a footpath: brand labels, the collecting of opinions or the application of new technologies. In short, the statistical analysis of the variables considered in the study enabled us to obtain an idea of the reality of each trail, an x-ray of its situation, with the aim of helping to improve it by prioritising the aspects in greatest need of attention. It also offered us the opportunity to focus on the most striking features of the footpaths with the highest scores in order to obtain valid references for facilitating improvements in each trail. Conclusions and Recommendations 93 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development FEADER 94 conclusions Trails are the reflection of history, ways of life and systems of communication of the population, which rambling revitalises, preventing it from disappearing and facilitating its conservation. 1 The trail keeps alive the history of the places it passes through, particularly when adequate work is done regarding research, recovery and promotion for the knowledge, use and interpretation of the ramblers. 2 Footpaths articulate the land and scenery, since they are often closely linked to the history traditions, customs, ways of life, and systems of communication of the local population. 3 Marked paths enable us to recompose the dynamics of history, along with the ways of life and communications enjoyed by local towns, districts and regions, recovering the memory of an extremely valuable collective memory which is then made available to local residents and visitors alike. 4 Footpaths, which are often associated with a traditional trail, enable many items of heritage to be recovered and enhanced, providing an additional attraction and involve the restoration of important elements of traditional rural architecture generating ethnographic interest. Footpaths boost rural development when they are designed with the aid of the local population, and are integrated in a network, with links to high-value landscapes 5 Footpaths acquire their real dimensions when they are articulated in a network, and represent added value for rural development, offering the user various different routes and alternatives that help promote a region with a variety of landscapes and histories. 6 The added value of the itineraries is strengthened when there is an efficient nexus with protected natural areas and they are enhanced together with the surrounding environments. 7 The technical design of most of the footpaths is adequate. However, this process fails to fully involve the population directly associated with its itinerary. 95 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development Adequate planning with new technologies attracts ramblers, fixes the population, strengthens social cohesion and puts the region on the map. 8 Footpaths still have an important role to play in the social cohesion of rural areas. The restoration and protection of public rights of way and their transformation into footpaths is essential if we are to avoid losing this extensive network and can use it as a tourist resource. 9 The high frequency of ramblers visiting a region to walk along its footpaths and discover its natural wealth and cultural heritage helps fix populations that would otherwise have vanished years ago. 10 Footpaths provide an opportunity that is possibly unique for putting small villages on the map of tourist attractions. 11 The joint offer of footpaths and associated services enhances their potential as a tourist attraction, when provided through integrated planning between all the parties involved. 12 New information technologies are tools for disseminating and promoting footpaths that offer greater security since they provide up-to-date information and a greater capacity for diffusion than more traditional methods. The profile of the Spanish footpaths offers great heterogeneity because of the huge geographical and scenic diversity of the country. 13 The diversity of the footpaths, far from being a handicap, is an opportunity to offer the hiker specific destinations. 14 The ancient trails have been converted into footpaths promoting the practice of physical and sports activities, thereby enhancing the geographical and scenic diversity of the rural environment. 15 Current footpath design not only takes into account the potential of the landscape or for enjoyment, but also the positive economic impact on the regions the trails pass through, including most of the villages along the route. FEADER 96 conclusions The process of conversion from a trail to a marked footpath usually links up various administrations in a common project. 16 The adaptation of new footpaths does not always mean the immediate birth of business activities in these regions. 17 The involvement of the population, business world and local institutions is decisive for the development of the footpath project, both in terms of design and planning aspects, and also with regard to its execution, maintenance and promotion. 18 The existence of large investments concerning the footpath project does not always guarantee success, unless it includes a budgeted programme of activities for its implementation. A specific footpath shows stretches of diverse quality, depending on the commitment to maintenance of the various administrations involved. 19 Maintaining the footpaths depends to a certain extent on the commitment of its developers. 20 In a specific footpath it is possible to find stretches that enjoy good maintenance and others with poor levels of conservation. 21 The connection of the route of the footpaths with the public transport system hardly exists. If there is no coordinated global tourist product, the companies and local authorities that benefit from the walkers on the trail do not get involved in the footpath’s development and maintenance. 22 On the whole, tourist offices do not have specific information on the ramblers. 23 The footpath is strengthened by forming part of a global tourist product and complemented by other activities. 24 Local companies, by and large, are usually not deeply involved in the development and maintenance of the footpath. The service sector profits from the promotion of rambling, but companies are affected by seasonality because of huge extremes of weather conditions. 25 Seasonality affects the tourist potential of the footpath and the development of business initiatives, which seek to encourage more visitors and greater diversification throughout the year. Given Spain’s huge geographical and climatological diversity, there are footpaths that are very affected by seasonality and others that are not necessarily so. 97 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development 26 Footpaths have a strategic value as tools that articulate the promotion of a region, favouring the development of various productive sectors, directly impacting the growth of the services sector associated with enjoyment of the area. Despite the growing trend to thematise the footpaths, the information on its relevant landmarks is often insufficient. 27 Thematising the footpaths is a trend that seeks to differentiate a region as a symbol of its identity for added value. 28 Information on relevant landmarks associated with the footpath is still insufficient, considering the fact that they enhance the path’s attractiveness for tourists. Brief summary. Trails, marked footpaths and rambling are integrative features. They foster social cohesion, and facilitate the description of the region’s potential, along with its natural and cultural resources. They can also serve as an economic catalyst in those areas where the social fabric has been weakened. Marking the footpaths has economic knock-on effects if it attracts ramblers from distant places. There is likewise no unique factor for a footpath to have socio-economic importance in the area, but rather a set of elements that as a coordinated whole can lead to the success of the itinerary. FEADER 98 recomendaciones RECOMMENDATIONS: In view of the potential for sustainable rural development of a project concerning marked footpaths, the team that has worked on preparing this study has set out a series of recommendations allowing any developer or institution to assess the proposals coming before them that seek to recover and adapt old trails and turn them into waymarked paths. 1. To prioritise the reconditioning of traditional ancient tracks and trails and their adaptation for uses of a preferably pedestrian nature. 2. To carry out a preliminary comprehensive study of the traditional trail network in the area, which includes, in particular, aspects such as the section of trails, landscape, history, ethnography and other resources of a cultural nature. 3. To carry out actions to raise awareness amongst the local population about the value of the public rights of way that have been restored and their potential for sports, tourist and recreational purposes. 4. To guarantee respect for the natural surroundings and cultural identity in the design and subsequent maintenance of the footpaths. 5. To be able to cater for the rambler’s preferences, profiles and habits in the design, execution, maintenance and dissemination of the marked footpaths by involving groups of walkers, ramblers and mountaineers. 6. To create mechanisms for updating the information on footpaths in collaboration with the public administrations and other organisations. 7. To complement the offer of outdoor activities by enhancing other resources, such as those of a natural, cultural, ethnographic, and gastronomical nature. 99 Senderos Señalizados y Desarrollo Rural Sostenible 8. To integrate the footpaths in a network and favour their connection with the towns along the route. 9. To consider articulation between the footpaths and the public transport system. 10.To define the person in charge of uniform maintenance for the marked footpaths right from the outset. 11. To guarantee the safety of the rambler as far as possible by clearly marking the footpaths and making the route easily identifiable, as well as establishing ancillary and emergency systems. 12.To supplement the information for the use of the ramblers on the path with that of other sports, tourist and agricultural activities. 13. To promote the participation of the local town and its associations from the first phase defining the footpath project to obtain their cooperation for its development and to make proposals concerning the use of the footpath. 14.To identify the economic and social stakeholders and drive the processes of participation to facilitate their involvement in the creation, development and promotion of the footpath. 100 recommendations 15. To promote supramunicipal activities both in defining new projects and in managing and integrating the trail network in the tourist offer. 16.To harness the recovery of trails and marking of footpaths to strengthen the town’s relationships with public institutions and socio-economic stakeholders. 17.To strengthen the image of the footpath as a tourist resource through the on-line management of bookings for accommodation, restaurants, fomenting agreements between footpath developers and socio-economic stakeholders. 18. To offer a full and homogeneous view of the information available on the footpaths. 19.To promote the enhanced quality of the footpaths by linking them with recognised quality brands and labels. 20.To re-enforce thematisation and interpretation programmes associated with each footpath, involving the local communities and institutions, especially the education sector in this cause. 101 Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development 21. To guarantee the rambler’s safety through the low-cost, periodic maintenance of the footpath. 22.To link the education sector with the processes for the conservation and promotion of traditional trails and foment the use of marked paths as a training resource. 23.To consider the marked footpath as a sports and recreational facility. 24.To integrate the marking of the footpath in the corporate identity of the protected natural areas. 25.To inform on supplementary routes, cultural and natural resources, tourist accommodation and companies offering services associated with the footpath on line. 26.To look at design, waymarkings, maintenance and dissemination of any footpath project that is to be developed as a joint project. 27.To promote rambling as a suitable activity for fostering development strategies. . Acknowledgements Two institutions have given us their support for this study and we would like to take this opportunity to convey our thanks to their senior representatives: Joan Garrigós i Toro, Chair of the Spanish Federation of Mountain and Climbing Sports (FEDME) Begoña Nieto Gilarte, Director General for Rural Development and Forestry Policy in 2012 Jesús Casas Grande, Director General for Sustainable Rural Development in 2011 Carrying out a study of this scope has only been possible thanks to the disinterested collaboration of a large number of people. Our sincerest gratitude to those that have helped us most closely: Eduardo Crespo Enrique Gil Francesc Estorach Pilar Jaimez Laura Rubia Lluís López Teba Roldán Javier Gracia Juan José Salinero Vicente Infante Francisco Javier Sánchez Antonio Rivas Alicia Díaz Marta Castillo Mateo Padrón The study in figures. Twelve researchers from different parts of Spain participated in conducting the study between January and December 2011. They met on 11 occasions to carry out the detailed analysis of 10 footpaths, amounting to walking over 2,000 kilometres during the course of which they obtained about 5,000 photographs. In their travels they chalked up 113,222 kilometres, taking 57 planes, 63 trains, 42 taxis, 14 tubes, 6 buses and 8 rented cars. Trails, marked paths and Rambling drive social cohesion and the settlement of populations; they lead to the discovery of the potential of different regions, along with their natural and cultural resources; and can also serve as a driving force for economic growth in environments experiencing difficulties in their process of development. The study entitled “Marked Paths and Sustainable Rural Development” was conducted throughout the course of 2011 by a multidisciplinary group of specialists belonging to the Scientific Mountain Advisory Board of the Spanish Federation for Mountain and Climbing Sports (FEDME), in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs. Their conclusions and recommendations aim to serve as guidelines for future networks of footpaths.