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Peak District gears up for launch of access to open country

This is an archived press release

Thursday 26 August 2004

26 August 2004

Peak District gears up for launch of access to open country

Walkers will soon be welcome to some of the wildest landscape in the country, following the introduction of new access legislation.

The Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act, which will open up miles of moor and heathland previously closed to the public, is launched in the Peak District National Park on 19 September.

The Peak District is the first National Park in the UK to benefit from the legislation, and open access land in the Park will increase from the current 92 square miles to 193 square miles.

Through a Local Access Forum the National Park Authority has been working with landowners, rural representatives and recreation groups to prepare the way for the launch. The Authority received additional Government funding to appoint extra rangers, install 400 new gates and stiles and put up 250 new signs wherever the open country is accessible.

To mark the launch of open access, Minister for Rural Affairs Alun Michael will be joined by hundreds of invited guests at a Peak District celebration event, which will take place on September 19 in the Goyt Valley, between Buxton and Macclesfield.

Peak District National Park Authority Chair Tony Hams said: "The Peak District has a long association with new rights to access following the Kinder Mass Tresspass in 1932, and 19 September 2004 will be another significant milestone in the history of the National Park.

"From that date the amount of open access land in the National Park will increase from a quarter to a third, giving residents and visitors the opportunity to walk in some of the most wild and impressive scenery in the country.

"We would like to acknowledge role of the Local Access Forum, landowners and recreation groups who are working with the Authority, the Countryside Agency and Defra to prepare the way for this historic occasion."

More information about access to open country in the Peak District National Park is available on-line at www.peakdistrict.org/crow The webpages explain who will benefit from the new right of access, what walkers' responsibilities are, includes advice on what you can and can't do on access land and how to stay safe, has a frequently asked questions section, facts and figures, and a timeline.

From 1 September signs marking the new access areas will start to appear around the National Park. Maps and information explaining the new access will be available from Tourist Information Centres and from the Countryside Agency helpline on 0845 100 3298, or by visiting www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk

This is an archived press release

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