There are significant positive changes to Lake District rights of way access as of today, Wednesday 1 August.

There are now three Open Acess Areas which you can see by clicking here which replace the existing system of approved access points and promoted routes. The zone of most interest to mountain bikers is the central area of the fells, but there are also open access areas in the Hardrian's Wall area and near Alston to the east of the Lakes.

Within these zones, access is effectively back to normal, subject to some restrictions and common sense. Users are asked to use disinfectant mats and washes where provided, to keep boots and tyres clean before riding, stick to rights of way and to keep dogs on leads. There may also be cases where farmers have posted their own notices asking walkers to bypass certain routes and Tourist Information offices are asking cyclists, walkers and climbers to respect these for the sake of diplomacy. If you come from outside the area, remember that foot and mouth has hit it hard and some locals are ultra-sensitive about the issue.

The Lakeland Fells access area includes most of the, well, Lakeland Fells with the exception of the area to the north of the A66, where Blencathra and Skiddaw are still out of bounds, some of the fells to the south of Coniston and Torver, some regions below Windemere and about halfway up Ullswater. In total it looks like around two-thirds of the National Park is now open.

Obviously it's not wholly back to normal, but it's good news for mountain bikers, walkers, climbers and local businesses and there's even something left of the summer. See you on the trails.