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Travel letters: The right to roam in England and Wales

Plus, traveling by train in the U.S.; Pat Nixon a loyal wife.

April 15, 2012

The right to roam in Wales

I was pleased to see John Flinn's excellent piece on walking the Offa's Dyke Path with Bill Bryson ["Strolling Over Hill and Dale in Wales," April 1], particularly the picture of one-eyed Llewelyn Morgan, who I have known for some 25 years. (He lost his eye, by the way, practicing the traditional craft of hedge-laying, when the hedge bit back.)

At the risk of seeming picky, I'd like to clarify Flinn's reference to trespass and the right to roam. It is true that we now enjoy the right to roam across large swaths of the countryside in England and Wales, but this applies mainly in what we call open country, principally the unfenced uplands. In the hedge-lined lowlands, through which the Offa's Dyke Path also passes, walkers still have to stick to defined paths. There are lots of these, though. If in doubt, refer to the 21/2-inch-to-the-mile Ordnance Survey Explorer Map, which shows both legally defined open country and public rights of way.

However, none of this should affect enjoyment of the Offa's Dyke Path, which is an official national trail, a public right of way throughout and which celebrated its 40th birthday last July. If you want to give it a try, we'll be delighted to help.

Jim Saunders

Offa's Dyke Assn.

http://www.offasdyke.org.uk

Offa's Dyke, Wales

Next time, take the train

Regarding Catharine Hamm's two articles in the April 1 Travel section, "Fares: What's Driving Them?" and "Keeping Airfares in Check": If someone has time to take a cruise, drive or wait for bargains on Priceline or Hotwire, then why wouldn't they have time to take a train to their vacation destination? I have taken the train across the country. I have traveled from L.A. to Albuquerque by train. I have taken a train to San Diego with family to visit the San Diego Zoo. I have a friend who travels by train and then rents a car to get to a specific destination. Trains are wonderful for children.

The U.S. is way behind Europe and other countries when it comes to train travel. I would much rather sit on a train, which travels on the ground, than fly in a tube at high altitude. The airlines have brainwashed people to fly.

Your Travel section should be pushing train travel. Educate people!

Jacqueline Rellas

South Pasadena

She stood by her man

Regarding "An Extraordinary Journey" by Catharine Hamm, April 1: As the Watergate scandal neared its climactic conclusion, the image of Pat Nixon — a quiet, suffering spouse, fighting back tears while her husband, Richard, bid a heart-wrenching, sometimes self-pitying farewell to his stunned, subdued White House staff — epitomized the tragic experience of a woman unquestioningly loyal to her man.

In a most ignominious way, she stood by him, enduring those unbearable moments no women could ever imagine. Her earlier unflinching manner in Caracas, Venezuela, portended an unshakable faith that sustained her through the shame her husband's moral failings now inflicted on her.

In the epilogue of "In the Arena," President Nixon effusively praised Pat, calling her a good wife and a good mother who raised their two daughters well. It is only appropriate that at the Nixon Library, her roses bloom with abandon.

Henry Tse

Rosemead

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