Walna Scar Road from the stone shelter near Brown Pike. Photo: Ian Greig CC-BY-SA-2.0

Walna Scar Road from the stone shelter near Brown Pike. Photo: Ian Greig CC-BY-SA-2.0

A Lake District route has been closed to motor vehicles – just two months after being declared open to off-roaders.

Walna Scar Road, which runs from Coniston to Seathwaite in Dunnerdale, has been at the centre of protracted legal arguments for three years and a recent High Court appeal has landed the national park authority back at square one.

The track, which skirts Brown Pike and Walna Scar, was declared open to 4×4s and motorbikes on 10 June, as a byway open to all traffic. This followed a series of legal challenges after the Lake District National Park Authority concluded in 2007 that the route should be made a restricted byway, which could be used by all traffic except motorised vehicles.

After objections were received, an inspector determined the route as a byway open to all traffic and motor vehicles were allowed to use the 6km (3¾-mile) track.

But the national park authority is now appealing to off roaders to use Walna Scar Road because such use is illegal.

Access and rights-of-way officer Nick Thorne appealed for patience now that the authority will have to begin again the consultation process to re-examine the case. “Obviously the public status of the route has been thrown into doubt and I would appeal to all users to respect this position until the route’s status has finally been resolved,” he said.

“But people need to know that currently motorbike riders and 4×4 drivers will be breaking the law if they take their vehicles on the route between the fell wall above Coniston all the way to the tarmac road near Seathwaite.”

The authority’s rights-of-way committee is now due to hear an updated report in January next year.

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