8 December 2000

Extension hopes for Pennine trail

A PROPOSED 141-mile northern extension to the Pennine Bridleway National Trail has received a "cautiously optimistic" response from most farmers, says a Countryside Agency spokesman.

The planned extension to the 208-mile route will run from Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria, to Byreness, Northumberland. It will use existing bridlepaths, upgrade footpaths and add some new rights of way through the area.

"We have consulted farmers and some can see the economic potential, such a as bed and breakfast and stabling for riders. Villages on the route will certainly benefit from the increased use of Post Offices and shops," said Manchester-based senior countryside officer, Rosemary Budd.

"We have tried to get agreement from farmers whose land will be included but if there is opposition, cases will be dealt with by public inquiry."

Regional NFU spokesman, David Collier, said the new bridleway might bring opportunities for farmers to diversify.

and it was important to ensure that the plus points outweighed any negative effects which might result from increased countryside access.