Walkers in the North York Moors National Park have given a big thumbs-up to its public rights of way.
A recent survey has revealed that it has been given a 96 per cent satisfaction rating of its management, said Richard Gunton, the park’s Director of Park Services.
He told the park authority: “It is a hugely complex task managing a 2,200 km network – if put end to end it would stretch to Naples! – with 13,000 individual structures such as gates, bridges and stiles.”
But as a result of pressures on the park’s budgets it is proposed to change the responsibility for the rights of way map in the area. The National Park has delegated authority from North Yorkshire County Council which has statutory responsibility for the rights of way as part of the highway network.
The delegation agreement between NYCC and the park authority has been re-negotiated said Mr Gunton, which will remove from the authority responsibility for the definitive rights of way map and to hand back responsibility for some 90 of the largest bridges.
He said that in the past decade the condition of the rights of way had improved “enormously”. “This huge achievement is the result of consistent investment of resources, a focussed effort of our staff, supported by a massive input of time from volunteers and apprentices and partnerships with landowners.”
However, said Mr Gunton with reduced financial resources, it is unlikely that the park will be able to carry out further improvements. “The aim is now to maintain current standards, consolidate the improvements that have been achieved and continue to offer the public a good quality of rights of way when they explore the park.”
l People are invited to herald the arrival of spring at a free five-mile guided walk and sing-along between Hutton-le-Hole and Lastingham on Sunday April 6, at 1.30pm.
The walk is being led by Judith Wilson, a member of Malton’s Chanticleer Singers, who will be teaching participants various old folk songs. There will also be an opportunity to visit and sing in St Mary’s church at Lastingham.
The walk is part of a programme of free guided strolls in the North York Moors National Park that aim to get people active while increasing awareness of the area’s wildlife and heritage.
A number of the walks are suitable for families with activities such as scavenger and bug hunts along the way. Places are limited so booking is advisable.
To book a place on April 6 walk, people should call 01439 772738. The same walk will also take place on Wednesday August 6.