RAMBLERS and cyclists in Swindon should find the way forward a little clearer as they pursue their leisure activities.

In three years' time, the council hopes that 90 per cent of the town's footpaths and cycleways will be easy to use.

At the moment 86 per cent of the 211 miles of public rights of way in Swindon meet the Government standard.

And number 25 of the council's promises to improve life in the borough aims to raise the bar.

A spokesman for Swindon Council said: "The council is trying to make it as easy as possible for people to access our varied and outstanding countryside.

"The council is on track to ensure that by 2010, 90 per cent of rural footpaths and cycleways reach the Government standard of being easy to use'."

The council met its target of 86 per cent for 2006/07 and is expected to achieve the target of 88 per cent for 2007/08.

The work involves making sure paths are clearly signposted and are clear from obstructions.

The council is also investing in the repair of stiles and gates.

Pat Crabb, chairwoman of the North East Wiltshire group of the Ramblers' Association, said: "I think we are very lucky with the footpaths in Swindon.

"They are very clean and well-marked, and the council remedies any problems quite quickly.

"I haven't noticed a dramatic change over the years - perhaps the overgrown footpaths that exist do not lead anywhere in particular.

"The council has a rights of way officer who is always very good, but we urge walkers to report things themselves because the council cannot be everywhere."

Director of transport for Swindon Council, Rod Anderson, said: "We are blessed with some outstanding countryside in Swindon and we want to do as much as we can to ensure that walkers, cyclists, equestrians and people with mobility impairment can make the most of our extensive network of footpaths, bridleways and byways."

The Swindon network comprises 211 miles, which is made up of 127 miles of footpaths, 77 miles of bridleways, six miles of byways and 1.2 miles of restricted byways.

The council spends £20,000 a year on the day-to-day maintenance of the network and has set aside a further £30,000 to cover special projects.