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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005, 20:24 GMT 21:24 UK
More private land opens to public
More landowners are opening up walks to the public
More than 20 new country walks in the north-east and Cumbria have opened up to the public over the past year, government figures reveal.

The region already boasts an impressive network of footpaths and rights of way, including Hadrian's Wall, the Pennine and Cleveland ways.

But the government says landowners have opened up more stretches of coastline and farmland to the public.

The figures come in the run-up to Welcome to Walking Week.

The annual event, which starts on 17 September, is organised by the Ramblers' Association, with the backing of Defra.

Easy access

James Bolton, regional access co-ordinator with Defra's rural development service, said: "We now have more than 100,470 hectares (248,266 acres) of land under agreement across the North East.

"There are more access routes opening up, which offer experiences of wildlife and historic sites from abandoned villages to areas once alive with industry.

"There are paths and bridleways to suit all tastes and abilities, including new routes that are suitable for wheelchair users, and others close to urban areas providing easy access to the countryside for all.

"We aim to promote access to features of interest and to complement the public rights of way system where it would be desirable to link existing routes.

"The Ramblers Association and its members already know and enjoy the benefits of walking, and Welcome to Walking Week is an ideal time for those who have perhaps not tried it before to get out and about and enjoy the countryside around them."

New right to roam maps revealed
07 Mar 05 |  North Yorkshire
Countryside opens up to ramblers
14 Dec 04 |  England
Q&A: Right to Roam
18 Sep 04 |  UK

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