21 June 2002

Moors fences spark row

A ROW has erupted in North Yorks over plans to fence off miles of the North York Moors – Englands biggest expanse of heather moorland – to help local sheep farmers.

National park officers say unless a way is found of preventing sheep straying, farmers will stop keeping them and the landscape of the moors will change forever.

The plan would end the national parks long-standing policy of allowing only temporary fences. It has been criticised by the Ramb-lers Association and the Open Spaces Society, which are accusing the park of riding roughshod over the publics right to roam.

Both the RA and the OSS say flock owners should return to traditional ways and employ more shepherds to teach flocks where to graze, rather than putting up physical barriers, which will scar the heather moorland.

The national park authority will be recommended on Monday (June 25) to adopt a strategy which will lead to the first fences going up from Westerdale to Esklets, Esklets to Farndale, and at Arden Great Moor, next to the Cleveland Way. &#42