The news has long since forgotten about the foot and mouth access situation, especially now more exciting diseases like Anthrax have cropped up to take the headlines. Access restrictions are still a big problem for mountain bikers in several areas though, so we thought we’d bring you the latest disease and related rights of way news from around the country.
If you want to keep up with the latest details yourself, then keep an eye on the countryside agency’s www.countryside.gov.uk/footandmouth site which is fully linked up to the latest local access information. Here’s a quick run down on the National situation, as of November 2, starting in the bottom left hand corner.
Cornwall is 100% open, while Devon and Dartmoor are 90% open with closures continuing roun the north and north west edge of Dartmoor. Exmoor, Dorset, Somerset and the entire South East are also fully open – except for Kent which has 1% closures.
The Forest of Dean and Gloucestershire are mainly open but there are some closures, mainly on the Welsh side of the River Severn.
As for the Welsh themselves they claim 99% of all righs of way open. They also get kudos for the most accurate mapping information thanks to their complete interactive local grid map of Wales. It takes a bit of time to get a long route checked out and it’s lacking an overall view but for full ‘on the ground’ details check out www.ccw.gov.uk.
Back in England, the Midlands and east of the country are predominantly fully open except for Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire which claim 99% opening. Derbyshire is a slight confusion as the overall map says the Peak District is fully open with 1% closures elsewhere, but the local information says all trails were opened in mid October.
Herefordshire and Warwickshire are 99% open, Shropshire is claiming 98%, while Worcestershire, Staffordshire are 90% open. Luckily for bikers the Wrekin and SE Peak District areas are both fully open.
Posh, Beckham and the rest of Chesire are declared disease free as are the cows and sheep of Manchester and Liverpool. There’s 1% doubt around Wigan and Worthington though. Lancashire has just re-opened a large area of the western Pennines but a triangle round Clitheroe – Gisburn Forest and Earby is still shut.
South Yorkshire and Humberside are fully open now, as is most of West Yorkshire apart from some closures in the Bradford / Keighley area. The access situation in North Yorkshire is considerably better now, with some key Dales and North York Moors biking areas opened up, but the situation is still in flux, so best check out the map at www.northyorks.gov.uk.
Heading further north south Tyneside, Teeside and Durham are mainly open but for details of closures check here: www.durham.gov.uk.
The original disease hot spot of Northumberland is 72% open but again it’s probably best to check the map: www.northumberland.gov.uk.
Finally the fells and lakes of Cumbria are slowly opening up but there’s no clear overall view. Luckily the Ambleside shop, Biketreks (www.biketreks.co.uk) has some excellent information, with more at the official Cumbria CC site www.cumbria.gov.uk.
We hope that helps those hunting for riding on the last few dry days and trails of late autumn, but we’re obviously lacking genuine ‘on the ground’ confirmation of what the local governments tell us. If you do run into problems in allegedly clear areas, or find your favourite off limits route is now suddenly open this weekend then please tell us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll try and update this round-up regularly.