SHORT CUTS AND RAT RUNS

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I went walking in the Peak District yesterday, something I like to do as often as I can. As a general rule I tend to stick to the moors and tracks, but yesterday I had to walk a reasonable stretch on a rural road. What amazed me about this out-of-the-way road which leads only to a small village, was how much traffic was using it. And at such speeds too! It didn’t take me long to realise that this was a well-used short cut, or rat run, that effectively cuts out the need to go through the much larger village of Baslow.

I can understand the desire to avoid the Baslow bottleneck during summer weekends when everyone and their grandmothers seem intent on enjoying the countryside, but this was mid-week and much of the traffic was commercial (vans, lorries, trucks). Sadly, the ones to suffer are the residents of the small village who happen to be on this busy route. Especially bad is that the road narrows and bends through the village as it goes steeply downhill. Not much margain for manouvre.

Of course, this isn’t the only rural road affected. There is no village where I live, and our ‘main road’ (single track, bendy, blind spots) goes nowhere in particular, but is still used as a short cut for those wanting to shave half a mile off their journey. They tend to find, though, that if they drive properly it takes them longer. Sadly, many don’t drive according to the conditions.

This is one of the potential pitfalls of living next to a rural road. It doesn’t affect me too much, I live ‘off-road’, but I certainly don’t envy those who end up living next to a rat run.

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