Vixen Tor. Photo: Paul Englefield CC-BY-2.0

Vixen Tor. Photo: Paul Englefield [CC-2.0]

A public inquiry into the long-running saga of access to a Dartmoor crag has reopened, six months after snow and ice led to the abandonment of the hearing last winter.

Landowner Mary Alford is appealing the decision of Devon County Council to make an order for two footpaths across Vixen Tor.

Ms Alford said the land has always been private and no rights of way exist across the area, which includes a crag from which climbers have also been barred.

Devon council contends that two rights of way have existed for at least 80 years, and the British Mountaineering Council has joined the Ramblers and other outdoor enthusiast groups to try to secure access to the tor. The area was excluded from the open access areas under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, to the dismay of outdoors groups.

The protracted campaign to open up Vixen Tor has met with equally determined resistance from Ms Alford. Even the efforts of UN commander Colonel Bob Stewart couldn’t resolve the dispute.

The inquiry inspector Mark Yates will hear another day’s evidence today at Princetown before making his recommendation on the matter to the Secretary of State for a final decision.

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