The new and the old

Things change from time to time and some are interesting, some are not. One unrelated event can have much wider repercussions. When Spring was struggling to maintain it's progress with the warm sun being overridden by the cold wind, finding appropriate clothing proved a bit of a challenge. Too much underneath my jacket and I got a bit hot, not enough and I'm back to square one. So with a small backpack, to toss my sweater into if the wind dropped, I set out to see what changes the year lockdown has produced in a nature reserve I go to for exercise.
Last year somebody broke the protective fencing around a small stream which one of the main paths cross. I hadn't been there for a while and so the new one stood out, exhibiting the difference between the new and the old. But why? The Sars2 Pandemic, in itself, has nothing to do with the nature reserve. Yet the result has seen some major changes in the area.
That gave me idea to see what else has changed since March 2020. Turning left after the bridge, brought the small new path on the right. Last year's rain had resulted in the main trail being covered and the resulting sea of mud stayed long after the water resided. The route is now twice as wide as it was before. Somebody decided to walk down on the right side and the alternative way took form. Are there any more new trails here?
A new barely used way. In summer this will disappear under the new growth.

The area is quite large and last year had around 7 to 8 miles worth of trails. A main one can be driven down by those who maintain the place, without making it too sanitized. An outer circuit is about 3 miles around and some new trails have become obvious. Before the pandemic, I could trek around the entire region and not see anyone, now it's full of people who previously never knew it was there.
A lot of the new ones connect some of the old lesser trails. This path may or not survive the summer.

The reserve has some diagonal routes, ranging from a few hundred yards to over a mile long. Most were about 18 inches to 2 feet wide, now they are over twice the width. Even the main routes are much wider due to all the people who have discovered the place. The rain and resulting mud have been instrumental in the broadening of the trails.
Whoever started this new route could go no further.

A new Y.

I found at least 20 new pathways during the searches, it will be interesting how many of them survive. This sort of thing happens all over the country and has been going on for over 100 years—the British Ordnance Survey maps are now way out of date in many regions.
May 17, 2021

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