4x4s Banned from Ridgeway in Winter
From the Scotsman:
Drivers of 4X4 vehicles are to be banned from using parts of Britain's oldest known road this winter.
Quadbikes, trail bikes and off-road cars will face a seasonal ban from vulnerable sections of the ancient Ridgeway which runs from Wiltshire to Buckinghamshire.
The "mudlarks" have been blamed for causing ruts in the 85-mile route, which is thought to be at least 6,000-years-old and was used by prehistoric man.
The implementation follows meetings with rural affairs minister Alun Michael and campaigners who have sought a complete ban on vehicles since 1983.
Among those pressing for the ban have been mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington.
Thames Valley Police has been carrying out special patrols in Oxfordshire recently to catch irresponsible off-road thrill seekers tearing up the track.
But off-road enthusiasts such as the Land Access and Recreation Association say they are a small minority and have been victimised. They claim farmers and horses cause more damage.
Ian Ritchie, chairman of the Friends Of The Ridgeway, said: "A voluntary code of respect has been in operation on the Ridgeway for 10 years but has plainly not been working.
"This ban is excellent news for all walkers, horse riders and cyclists who wish to enjoy the Ridgeway in peace, free from the ruts and mud that make the trail hazardous and unpleasant.
"Although a seasonal ban falls short of the total ban that we have been advocating, it is a very big step in the right direction."
Mr Michael said: "I am sure that this will help to make the difference we all want to see in order to protect the Ridgeway for all users."
The Ridgeway runs from Overton Hill, near Avebury in the south, to Ivinghoe Beacon, north of Aylesbury, and includes numerous Stone Age and Iron Age hill forts and burial mounds.
All six councils along the route have agreed to the seasonal ban which will be imposed from October.
Posted by nigelswift
24th March 2004ce
Edited 15th November 2004ce