A national park has closed access land to guard against moorland fires.
In a repeat of last year’s closures, the Peak District park authority has banned walkers from access land as fire risk indexes have hit critical levels.
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The park authority stresses that public rights of way – footpaths and bridleways – are unaffected, but the right to roam on moors, introduced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CroW Act), is suspended.
The closure starts with immediate effect. Sean Prendergast of the Peak District National Park Authority says the ban will run until the weekend at least. He said: “The weather forecast if for the risk to come down, but if it stays high, the ban will remain.
“The extreme dry April has tripped the index into level five, at which, under the CRoW Act, access is automatically suspended. But we still have more than 2,000km of public rights of way open.
“We are also keeping our climbing edges, such as Stanage and the Roaches, open – it’s just that climbers will have to use public footpaths to access them. The Peak District is not closed!”
Contrary to a report on the British Mountaineering Council website, access land in the North York Moors national park is still open. Access officer Sarah Blakemore told grough: “Our access land is definitely open at the moment and closure isn’t likely at present.
“However, the moors are very dry and we are urging people to take as much care as possible to avoid starting fires”
There have been extensive fires in both Wales and Northern Ireland recently and the warm, dry weather has left moorland areas parched and in great danger of catching fire. Prolonged extreme fire risks throughout last year’s summer season led to widespread access land closures.