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GETTING OUT AND ABOUT IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE

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* Blanket closures of paths and access land in many areas of the country are being lifted in time for the spring ba...
* Blanket closures of paths and access land in many areas of the country are being lifted in time for the spring bank holiday.
* 31% of the network is now open (Thursday 24 May)- a 5% increase on this time last week and is expected to rise again for the weekend.
* New MAFF guidance to local authorities issued on 23 May is also expected to simplify and accelerate the reopening process. Local authorities hope to reopen all of their paths outside of protection zones.
* The picture varies across the country with most paths open in the east of England, including the whole of the Norfolk Coast and Peddars Way National Trail.
* The South West Coast Path is open from Poole to Padstow, with some diversions where care is needed. The northern section of the path is also open in places, with more than a third of the Exmoor section accessible.
* The south-east and south-west are making significant progress in reopening with more expected to be open by the week-end. Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Hampshire have announced that they will lift the closure notices which have meant much of these areas have been closed for walkers and riders since March.
* Wiltshire, Somerset, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire are planning to take a similar approach with care still being taken in areas containing livestock.
ENGLISH REGIONHIGHWAY AUTHORITIESTOTAL ROW
length in kms.Percentage Open
24.5.01
Eastern England1025,24074%
East Midlands1019,55531%
North East129,47913%
North West2221,32912%
South East1932,62144%
South West1537,25124%
West Midlands1421,30816%
Yorkshire & H.1423,51014%
TOTAL116190,29331%
RIGHTS OF WAY
Situation of all footpaths and bridleways at 24 May 2001
Authority
TypeLengths
(km)Total open (km)% open
24.5.0117.5.0124.5.0117.5.01
Counties159,29749,00239,3693125
Metropolitan15,7285,6685,1613633
Unitary15,2684,7374,1993128
Total190,29359,40748,7293126
Details of National Trails, National Parks and Country Parks are attached.
The Countryside Agency has provided£1.8m to help local authorities reopen rights of way closed because of the foot and mouth crisis. The remainder on the£3.8m provided by the government for this purpose will focus on areas which continue to have new foot and mouth outbreaks and on improving information to the public.
For the latest information, regional maps and links to local authority web sites and other useful information check the Countryside Agency websiteor contact the relevant local authority or nearest Tourist Information Centre. The Countryside Access Hotline 0870 241 5689 can provide further information on who to contact for further details.
Notes
NATIONAL TRAILS IN ENGLAND
See news pages on www.nationaltrails.gov.uk
Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail
Fully open with some temporary sections of alternative route to avoid animals.
CONTACT:Norfolk County Council Helpline 01603-222077
National Trail Manager Tim Lidstone-Scott 01328-711533
North Downs Way National Trail
75% is now open, including most of the Surrey section from Farnham to Merstham via Guildford.
CONTACT:National Trail Manager David Hiscock 01622-221525
South Downs Way National Trail
Paths remain closed for the time being, except for a short sections at Alfriston Village near the ?White Bridge?, a 2-mile section at Birling Gap to Beachy Head and small sections to the east of Queen Elizabeth Country Park and around the centre of Winchester. Changes are expected shortly as all three counties are actively reopening their rights of way.
CONTACT:(National Trail Manager not in post at present)
Queen Elizabeth Country Park 02392-597618
Sussex Downs Conservation Board 01903-741234
Hampshire County Council 01962-846043
Thames Path National Trail
46% of this Trail is now open, including most recently the 11-mile stretch from Neigh Bridge in Cotswold Water Park to Castle Eaton. Previously opened sections are still open, ie:
- 4.5 miles from Botley Road in Oxord to Sandford lock;
- 3 miles from Reading to Sonning;
- 3 miles from Henley to Aston;
- 1.5 miles Benson to Wallingford;
- 4 miles from Bourne End to Maidenhead;
- 60+ miles from Bray Lock, just south of Maidenhead, to Thames Barrier.
CONTACT:Information line 01865-810224
National Trail Manager Jos Joslin 01865-810248
The Ridgeway National Trail
24% is now open, including:
- 13-mile from south of Asbury east to Scuthamers Knob near East Hendred;
- 5.5 miles North Stoke through Nuffield;
- 7-mile section east of Watlington to the Oxon/Bucks border near Chinnor.
CONTACT:Information line 01865-810224
National Trail Manager Jos Joslin 01865-810248
South West Coast Path National Trail
Effectively we will have open the majority of the Coast Path from Poole to Padstow with the exception of Torbay where we have been notified of mile long closure from Maidencombe to Teignbridge. The North East section of Cornwall is also closed.
All of the coast path in Dorset is open although there are a few diversions in place due to land slides. Devon County Council are still processing farmers objections to the proposed blanket reopening, though we are only aware at this time of one closure in East Devon where an inland alternative will be provided. This will include minor roads. The Plymouth section is all open.
Cornwall is open although there are a few diversions in place and we are advised that some of these include road sections (we have more details of these diversions if you require them). The Exmoor section is open from Minehead to Glenthorne/County Gate and closed thereafter until Coombe Martin..
CONTACT:National Trail Manager Ros Love 01392-383560
or the South West Coast Path Association 01752-896237
Offas Dyke Path National Trail
Whole length closed at present.
CONTACT:Information office 01547-528753
National Trail Manager Jim Saunders 01547-528192
Cleveland Way National Trail
Open between Ravenscar and Scarborough, Helmsley and Rievaulx and also between Cold Kirby and Sutton Bank.
CONTACT:National Trail Manager Malcolm Hodgson 01439-770657
m.hodgson@northyorkmoors-npa.gov.uk
www.clevelandway.gov.uk
Wolds Way National Trail
The first 6.5 km is open from Hessle to North Ferriby.
CONTACT:National Trail Manager Malcolm Hodgson 01439-770657
m.hodgson@northyorkmoors-npa.gov.uk
www.woldsway.gov.uk
Pennine Way National Trail
Entire route still closed.
CONTACT:National Trail Manager Steven Westwood 0113-246-9222
Cotswold Way (Regional path, National Trail under development)
Only urban sections are open at present apart from limited access over Painswick Beacon (1.4 miles), Stinchcombe Hill (2.5 miles), Cleeve Common (1.4 miles) and Bath Abbey to the Weston Recreation Ground (2.4 miles).
CONTACT:National Trail Manager Jo Ronald 01452-425637
cotsway@gloscc.gov.uk
NATIONAL PARKS IN ENGLAND AND THE NEW FOREST
There are some access restrictions in all of the National Parks but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy them by visiting the many attractions in around the picturesque towns and villages. Some information about areas open for walking, horse-riding or cycling are provided below, together with contact points for further details.
The Broads
The navigation is open, along with 99% of moorings. The only moorings closed are those with stock in immediate proximity. All the Authority's canoe hire, cycle hire, information centres, car parks and sites are open. Around 75% of paths are open including eight circular walks.
CONTACT:Tel: 01603 610734
New Forest Heritage Area
Most tracks and paths are open for walkers, horse-riders, cyclists and dogs on leads. Many of the car park sites which provide access to the forest and picnic areas are also open. A list of these can be obtained from the helpline below. Some of the camping sites are also open but check with the helpline or local tourist information centres for details.
CONTACT:Tel: Forestry Commission helpline 02380-286828 Website: www.hants.gov.uk/newforest
Peak District National Park
Paths open include: woodland paths through Macclesfield Forest, Ladyclough Plantation (off the A57 at Snake Pass), Langsett Woods and reservoir margins in the Upper Derwent Valley. Cycle hire centres and the climbing edge at Stanage Edge is also open.
From Saturday 19 May people can return to the paths and climbing crags on the Roaches, near Leek and at Froggatt and Curbar. Extra rangers and volunteers will be on hand at weekends to explain where people can walk and climb.
CONTACT:Tel: 01629 816200
Website: www.peakdistrict.org
Northumberland National Park
All rights of way remain closed as new Foot and Mouth cases are being confirmed within the boundary of the Park. Two tarmac trails at the southern edge of the park near Hadrian?s Wall area are being promoted as alternative walks forvisitors.
The National Park centre at Rothbury is open but the centres at both Once Brewed and Ingram are currently closed. It is hoped that the Once Brewed visitor centre will be open for the May Bank Holiday. Temporary information points have been established in several car parks.
Four events will be held in May in and around small towns and villages and five events in June. The Hadrian's Wall Bus will begin to run on the 24th May.
CONTACT:Tel: 01434 605555
Booking hotline: 01665 578248
Website: www.nnpa.org.uk
Lake District National Park
Some sites and paths and the majority of byways are now open. Expect some high fell access within 3 weeks, however, there are still many access restrictions and the number of Foot and Mouth cases in the area is still increasing. There continue to be many other ways to enjoy the Lake District from its towns and villages. Information Centres can provide further information on activities and events.
CONTACT: Tel: 01539 724555
Website: www.lake-district.gov.uk
Dartmoor National Park
Small areas of ungrazed access land have reopened at Ramsley Hill, South Tawton and Blackingstone Rock near Moretonhampstead. A limited number of footpaths (3%) are open in the Upper Teign Valley, and near Gidleigh and on the edge of Ivybridge. Full details can be found on the National Park's website.
CONTACT: Tel: 01626 832093
Website: www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk
Exmoor National Park
One major footpath is open (4 miles) from Lynemouth to Watersmeet and up the Lyn to the Rockford Inn. A few paths are also open to the west of Minehead. The Park Authority aims to open other paths by the bank holiday at the end of May.
CONTACT:Tel: 01398 323665
Website: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk
North York Moors National Park
The Moorsbus is running which provides a ?clean and green? way to access the National park from 16 regional centres. Some events and activities, including free guided walks, are programmed for May and June, particularly along the coast. Contact the Moors Centre at Danby for further details (number below). Visitor centres and car parks are also open.
The outbreak close to the north-eastern boundary of the Park at Ruswarp has meant further restrictions on that part of the North York Moors, but all villages and beaches are open, provided they are accessed by road. Parts of the Cleveland Way which runs through the National Park are now open. There are very few other rights of way open at the moment apart from short stretches in urban areas and no moorland is open at present.
CONTACT:Moors Centre 01287-660654
Rights of Way Tel: 01609 532245.
Website: www.northyorkmoors-npa.gov.uk
Yorkshire Dales National Park
In addition to town and village visitor attractions a few short stretches of right of way have been opened. There is no open access land at the moment. A new Foot and Mouth outbreak around the Settle/Malham area will effect reopening of paths in the south west area of the Park. Two sections of path previously reopened have had to be closed.
CONTACT:Tel: 01756-752748
Website: www.yorkshiredales.org.uk
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