Right-to-roam areas in Yorkshire and the Peak District are being closed less than a year after the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, which granted the rights, came fully into force. The North York Moors closed its access areas today, with the Yorkshire Dales following suit tomorrow, Wednesday. Similar restictions are being introduced in the Peak.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park announced all access areas in its remit will be barred to walkers because of the risk of fire. Only public rights of way across the areas will still be open to walkers. Rangers are already putting up signs warning of the closures.
The Met Office says that, by Wednesday, the fire risk in the Dales will be at its maximum – level five – which the park authority says triggers an automatic closure of all its access areas. Presumably the fire risk doesn't apply on public rights of way.
Alan Hulme of the Yorkshire Dales authority said: "From Wednesday, walkers will be asked to use only public rights of way and will not be able to roam wherever they want to in parts of the National Park identified on maps as being Open Access land.
"Hopefully this temporary closure of some areas of the National Park will reduce the risk of fires.
“But we really do urge everyone to take extra care in disposing of cigarettes and empty bottles and to remember that strong sunlight shining through glass can easily start a fire. And we would also ask people not to have barbeques on roadsides or on moorland.
“The countryside is so dry now that a single spark could have devastating consequences for the flora and fauna in the National Park.”
The index is exected to fall to level two – low, by Saturday, when rain is forecast.