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Saturday, 14 July, 2001, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Dartmoor opens for business
Dartmoor national park
Walkers can roam the moors this weekend
Dartmoor National Park is fully re-opened to the public this weekend with the lifting of foot-and-mouth restrictions.

Access to the northern moor of the national park in Devon was allowed from midnight on Friday.

More than 60% of the area was re-opened to the public in June following the easing of the disease restrictions.

Foot-and-mouth key facts
1842 confirmed cases - one on Friday
20,000 animals awaiting slaughter
3535,0000 slaughtered
3,555,000 animals identified for slaughter
The national park was closed to walkers and horse riders to prevent the disease spreading to livestock grazing on moorland.

There are 1842 confirmed cases of the disease in the UK, with one new case in North Yorkshire confirmed on Friday.

Of those cases only one was on Dartmoor, at a farm at Dunnabridge near Two Bridges.

The farm, along with several surrounding premises within a three kilometre zone, remains under restrictions.

But all the rest of the common and access land within the national park will be open to walkers and horse riders.

This came as foot-and-mouth antibodies were discovered in one sheep in Wales leading to the slaughter of 160, according to the Welsh Assembly.

Officials are now testing 10,000 sheep on the Brecon Beacons.

An Assembly spokesman said this was not being treated as a confirmed case - only as an indication that the animal had been in contact with the disease.

Dartmoor's northern area's re-opening was delayed by two weeks after foot-and-mouth antibodies were detected in a blood test from sheep at North Lew, close to the northern fringes of Dartmoor.

Moorland beauty

But the Dartmoor National Park Authority is now ready to welcome back visitors.

Chief executive Nick Atkinson said: "The national park is back in business for the purposes for which it exists, a great place to visit and explore and in which to live and work," he said.

"I am as thrilled as everyone to be walking on the moor again and enjoying the beauty and wildlife of Dartmoor at this stunning time of the year."

More than 4,000 miles of paths and bridleways will now be opened across Devon.

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