A council initiative has been launched to support the paths network in Aberdeenshire.
The local authority has unveiled a detailed information pack offering advice and guidance to back community-led action on paths.
The guide will assist both those who are setting up a group and planning path work, and existing organisations already active with local community projects.
The council is striving to facilitate access to a network of well-maintained and welcoming paths and to protect access rights to enable residents and visitors to enjoy the area’s diverse countryside and settlements.
The local authority maintains some, but not all, paths in the region, with maintenance being prioritised for the routes that the authority owns.
Many paths, including some core paths, are on private land and are not the responsibility of the council to maintain.
Through the new guide, the council wants to bring together landowners and communities to ensure there is a good quality path network in the region.
The pack contains a wide range of information on the setting up and work of a community paths group.
This ranges from the practicalities of path maintenance and construction to handy tools, volunteer registration and risk assessment.
Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said they wanted to support the expanding network of volunteer paths groups.
He explained: “The benefits of a well-planned, maintained, accessible path network are important for both our health and our economy.
“Paths can also be a focus for community involvement and while not everyone will want to be closely involved in running or managing a group, by organising community events to help with particular aspects you will raise awareness and encourage pride of place and a real sense of ownership.”
He added: “There is a growing network of volunteer paths groups across Aberdeenshire engaged in practical work to keep paths networks in their area in good condition.
“Aberdeenshire Council wish to encourage and support this movement hence the production of this information pack.”
Individuals and groups considering setting up a path project can access the pack at http://bit.ly/AbshirePathPack.