Should We Put Strava Signs In The Peak District?
7th Nov 2014
It occurred to me the other day that we have a national park full of amazing natural resources - crags and cliffs, woods and trails - but that we don't do a very good job of signposting them. I've lived in the area for nigh on 20 years now and whilst i know where plenty of these resources are I still discover news ones regularly. In Fontainebleau the boulders are marked with small paint symbols and numbers to make following circuits easier, and the woods are filled with small signs indicating the names of the paths. In the Alps there are often similar colour dabs on rocks and trees, as well as signs indicating the estimated walking times to summits and huts. These marks and signs are a part of the environment in Europe and, to my mind, don't look at all out of place. After all, although they are wild places, they are hardly backcountry Alaska or the Australian Outback. So it got me to thinking, should we signpost what we've got better? And I don't just mean the trails and summits, I mean the crags, the lakes and the woods. Would we help educate everybody what we've actually got as well as help to steer people away from the honey pots like Padley Gorge and Stanage Edge?
Then I started to think about Strava. If you don't use it then you won't know what I mean (it's essentially a piece of web based tracking software that logs your rides and runs and tells you how far and fast you went, and also compares your times to others that have covered the same ground, specifically for short user-defined segments of your route, like a hill or a stretch between two villages or styles). I'm thinking primarily about biking, but it could also be used for running (the two major user groups for the programme). Imagine you are cycling along and get to the bottom of Froggatt Hill. There's a sign there indicating the start of a segment (in this case the TNT - it's been ridden by 2784 people who use Strava 13,261 times!) telling you it's name and also the gradient and length of the climb, with a second sign at the top telling you that it's over. I'm not suggesting signs for the downhill segments as this would encourage people to cycle dangerously, but I think that for climbs it could be a novel experiment, and help identify the best, most popular climbs in the park. It could have the added bonus of reminding car users that cyclists also use the roads. It would certainly put the Peak District on the map as a cycling destination in a similar manner to the rumour that Mallorca has repaved its roads to encourage cyclists to come there for their smoothness.
Food for thought.