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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 12:52 GMT
Storm-damaged trees are cleared
Fallen tree
More than 70% of paths have been cleared of debris
More than 500,000 trees blown over in gale-force winds have been cleared away during a two-month clean-up.

The Forestry Commission said more than 70% of walkways and paths in Cumbria had now reopened in time for thousands of Easter ramblers.

During the storms, winds of up to 102mph battered the area uprooting and snapping trees. The clear-up has cost 500,000 - about 1 per tree.

The commission joined forces with Cumbria Woodlands to clear the debris.

Edward Mills, director of Cumbria Woodlands, said: "Waking up the morning after the wind damage, the forestry community in Cumbria faced a massive challenge with 200 hectares of forest estimated to be flattened on Forestry Commission land alone.

"This damage needed to be cleared along with the scattered, dangerous trees on footpaths and other routes to ensure public access could be safely restored.

"Pulling together our resources, we have achieved the impossible in record time to open up Cumbria's network of paths and trails in time for the start of the trekking and outdoor pursuits season."

Cumbria attracts around 12m visitors every year, with around 60% of these saying the main reason for their visit is the chance to go walking in the countryside.

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26 Apr 04 |  Cumbria

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