The Government has published a Command Paper for a Bill for an Act to set up the Gibraltar National Trails. This is a Manifesto commitment which sets out to encourage walking and protect rights of way into the future.
The National Trails cover many of the popular routes for walkers and both well-known and less well-known paths within the Nature Reserve. Some of the trails will be open as at present, other new ones will be opened up in the future. Further trails may be added at a later stage.
The trails are intended to establish walking routes in and around Gibraltar. They include established walks such as Mediterranean Steps and Martin’s Path on the Upper Rock. Less well known may be the area of Blackstrap Cove on the east side and Devil’s Tooth Path in the South District, which will be opened at a later date when some clearing works have been carried out. The path around Europe Point will be re-opened as soon as the works to the sports facilities are completed. All those paths that are currently openly accessible will continue to be so. In the case of some of the newer paths were may be different arrangements in the interests of security.
The Government proposes to provide signposting and interpretation and to use them not just to encourage walking by Gibraltar residents, but also to attract visitors to the Rock.
Minister for Environment and heritage John Cortes said, “With so many people now taking to walking for recreation and exercise, it is important that we recognise our National Trails in law. It will help encourage walking and the enjoyment of our landscape and our cultural and natural heritage and will no doubt attract others to Gibraltar to enjoy these too”.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo, said, ‘This is a huge step forward in the protection and promotion of our natural environment. Another huge step taken by this GSLP Liberal Government which demonstrates our credentials and our commitment. And all, of course, led by John Cortes, a Minister for the Environment without peer or equal in terms of understanding, commitment and delivery!’