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Rus Slater

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ca some people ever learn?


Yesterday evening I discovered a landslip over a public footpath....I phoned the relevant authority who appeared 40 minutes later.

By 9.43 this morning the footpath was clearly barricaded off at each end and a clear sign informed walkers that the path was closed til further notice due to a landslip. A map was included showing the extent of the closure.

There  are two 50 plus foot oak trees that overhang the path and they now have their roots in soil that is slipping downhill; in all likelihood they will come crashing to the ground in the very near future with no warning at all.  Each weighs about 6 tons and Nurofen will not help if one lands on your head.

I have just met a 'mature' couple walking along the path coming out of the closed area and climbing over the barrier.  I asked if they had travelled the full length of the path only to be told that, no, they had crossed the barrier and ignored the signs in order to go and see the landslip.

I have called the authority again and suggested a more "aggressively" worded sign; what wording would TZers consider appropriate?

10 Responses

  1. I quite like the signs on

    I quite like the signs on electricity substations you see around the place.


    Short and to the point!



  2. gr8

    Oh, I love the TZ sense of humour!



    3=The extremes of outcome


  3. There is no road through the woods?

    What a fantastic question Rus -enough material for a conference lol. Not suggesting you paste up the Kipling poem BUT what about looking to Professor Cialdin and his bath towels? I am sure you have seen it . Cialdini  outlined a series of experiments on the cards in hotel bathrooms attempting to persuade people to reuse the towels. The standard appeal on these cards is to our concern for the environment. The author experimented with changes to the wording on these cards. Here’s what they found:

    • Guests who were told that most other guests reused their towels, were 26% more likely to reuse their towels than those who saw the standard message.
    • Guests who were told that most other guests who stayed in their particular room, were 33% more likely to reuse their towels than those who saw the standard message


    So Rus,is there a TRANSFERABLE message here for your pathway?  29 people have thanked us for telling us about XYZ -we reckon we have prevented X number of injuries

    Too abstract? Ah well,paste up the following….

    They shut the road through the woods
    Seventy years ago.
    Weather and rain have undone it again,
    And now you would never know
    There was once a road through the woods
    Before they planted the trees.
    It is underneath the coppice and heath,
    And the thin anemones.
    Only the keeper sees
    That, where the ring-dove broods,
    And the badgers roll at ease,
    There was once a road through the woods.

    Yet, if you enter the woods
    Of a summer evening late,
    When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
    Where the otter whistles his mate.
    (They fear not men in the woods,
    Because they see so few)
    You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
    And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
    Steadily cantering through
    The misty solitudes,
    As though they perfectly knew
    The old lost road through the woods….
    But there is no road through the woods.



  4. Interesting thought …

    … from Dominic but I fear he's barking up the wrong tree.  Whilst I totally endorse Cialdini this example seems more akin to personal safety as well as avoiding potential claims against the local authority for injury, etc.  This is not so much as persuading as to emphasise it's just darned dangerous!

  5. reverse psychology?

    …..a few days have now passed and I have made an interesting observation:

    there are many people who are not regular walkers along the path in question, but who have come out precisely because they have heard about the landslip and its potentially catastrophic effect. They wish to see for themselves the cracks, scars and fallen trees.

    The correct term for these people, I believe, is 'rubber neckers'…..



    or possibly










    or even more possibly








  6. Perhaps they come to mourn the trees that are not there?

    There is now no path through the woods so Mr Kipling might return and say:-

    Of all the trees that grow so fair,
      Old England to adorn,
    Greater are none beneath the Sun,
    Than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.
    Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good sirs,
      (All of a Midsummer morn!)
    Surely we sing no little thing,
    In Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

  7. Or perhaps …

    …  they have no life of their own and need to find a more useful hobby!  But not rubbernecking….  🙁

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Rus Slater


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