Vixen Tor: off limits again to walkers. Photo: Paul Englefield CC-BY-2.0

Vixen Tor: off limits again to walkers. Photo: Paul Englefield [CC-2.0]

Walkers will be barred from a Dartmoor beauty spot that has been at the centre of an access battle, after a planning inspector ruled there was no right of way across the land.

Owner Mary Alford closed Vixen Tor to walkers and climbers eight years ago, and the land was excluded from designated open access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

The Ramblers and the British Mountaineering Council both supported Devon County Council’s order to record two rights of way across the land.

But inspector Mark Yates ruled that there was not enough evidence to show the paths had been used regularly for a period of 20 years.

The council will now remove the orders and the tor will again be closed to the public.

The area became a cause célèbre for walkers and climbers, with confrontations between Ms Alford and outdoor enthusiasts. UN commander Colonel Bob Stewart attempted at one point to mediate but was unable to resolve the dispute.

A total of 59 people supplied the inquiry with oral or written evidence of using the paths before Ms Alford bought the land but she supplied documents which suggested there had been times when the path had not been used.

Mr Yates said: “Overall I accept that people have walked to Vixen Tor and used routes through the enclosure.

“However, I am not satisfied that, on balance, the evidence of public use of the order route, either in whole or part, presented to the inquiry is sufficient to demonstrate the dedication of this route at common law.”

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Climbers and walkers unite in fight for access to Vixen Tor
  2. Setback for Vixen Tor access campaign
  3. Six-month delay hits Vixen Tor footpath inquiry
  4. Don’t Lose Your Way: Ramblers recruit citizen geographers to save paths at risk
  5. Ramblers press the case for access with giant map at Welsh Senedd