Signposts which indicate a public right of way in Weir have been removed, leaving residents bewildered.
The footpath is located behind Heald Town and adjoins with the main path for the Rossendale Way walk, which is a popular route for many walkers.
Catherine Peel, a mother-of-three, of Beaufort Road, Weir, got lost while following the footpath with her friend.
She said: “We were together but if you were a lone person walking and you got lost – and it can get quite foggy up there and the weather can be quite bad – then it can be quite dangerous if you lose your way.”
Leanne Howarth, of Beaufort Road, Weir, regularly goes walking with her three young children and their horse.
She said: “There is a lot of beautiful scenery right on our doorstep but lately it has become very confusing which is your right of way or where to walk.
“Signs are either missing or have been removed and aren’t being replaced, and many farmers are closing gates and saying we can’t go through, which is very frustrating.”
Lancashire County Council is responsible for maintaining rights of way in the area.
According to their website, they must ensure that rights of way are kept free from obstruction and that structures such as signs are provided where appropriate and maintained in a safe and convenient condition.
Overall satisfaction with the rights of way network is steadily declining, according to data in the Lancashire Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2015-2025, published by Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council.
The data shows that public rights of way which are classed as ‘easy to use’ have fallen from 70% to 55% in just five years.
Paul Falcone, the Public Right of Way officer for Lancashire County Council, explained that such defects in the public rights of way network are prioritised according to their effect on the public.
He said: “The reason for this is that our resources are extremely limited and it is therefore likely to be a considerable length of time before the lower priority defects are addressed.”