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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Freedom to roam hailed as success
People have been able to walk in previously unaccessible areas
A scheme granting walkers and ramblers greater freedom to roam over parts of north-east England and Cumbria has been hailed as a success one year on.

Open access under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act came into force in the region on 28 May 2005.

The Countryside Agency says funding has helped local authorities work with farmers and other parties to open up large areas of land.

This has allowed residents and visitors to enjoy previously inaccessible areas.

In Northumberland and Durham more than 166,000 has already been used to provide new information signs, access points, warden schemes, gates, bridges and paths.

Julia Rand, open access manager with the Countryside Agency, said: "Much has been achieved over the past year, and we are keen to take things further, to encourage both visitors and residents to make the most of the region's unique countryside."

Lorna Lazzari, access officer with the Northumberland National Park, said: "The measure of future success will be the increased number of people getting out into the countryside to enjoy the landscape responsibly for exercise and relaxation.

"Getting people out and about can only help to create a better understanding of nature and of rural needs, which in turn will help to support the rural economy."

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07 Mar 05 |  North Yorkshire
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