After winning the right to roam, national parks and – almost certainly – an unobstructed coastal path, Britain's Ramblers are facing perhaps their hardest campaign of all. Their target in the year of their 75th anniversary is couch potatoes whose interest in walking for pleasure has slumped.
A recent survey by Loughborough University's school of sport, exercise and health science found that more than half the country walk for pleasure less than they did 10 years ago. Lack of time and "low family enthusiasm", especially among young people, were blamed – but so was uncertainty over where to walk.
"That's where we're going to campaign," said Tom Franklin, chief executive of the Ramblers. "We've achieved a world class network of paths and open access in the country. Now the message has to be, if you don't use it, you could lose it."
The Loughborough survey chimes with other recent findings, including last year's Ofsted report on a steep decline in school sport, and studies of obesity. The Ramblers plan to target young people with "we're not fuddy-duddy" messages and walks on themes such as London film shoot sites, or circuits from Glastonbury and other festival grounds.
The Ramblers have a long tradition of ingenious defiance. Their 1930s campaign, including Britain's most spectacular mass trespass on Kinder Scout in the Derbyshire Peak District, began the rout of obstructive landowners and magistrates who were prepared to send walkers to jail. Franklin said: "Our strength grew out of local groups, many going back into the 19th century, combining to make change nationally. Now we are going local again."
More than 900 people have joined a new branch for Londoners in their 20s and below, and every new member will get automatic computer links to their nearest group and its events. Twitter, Facebook and other social sites have been mobilised.
Ramblers' trustee Kate Ashbrook, who is also general secretary of the allied Open Spaces Society, is leading the anniversary year's first charge, a Put Yourselves on the Map campaign aimed at dilatory local councils.
She said: "It's scandalous that councils were ordered in 1949 to publish definitive rights-of-way maps for their areas, but many still have not done so. Justice delayed is justice denied. We need walkers in places such as Cardiff, Ipswich, Norwich, Plymouth and all the London boroughs to help us to get this put right."
Franklin, who hopes that a round-Britain chain of baton walks, with a baton like a modest Olympic torch, will also bring in new members, said: "A 75th birthday is a good time to pass on the baton to future generations."