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Pennine Bridleway finally opens

Posted 13 June 2012
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Pennine Bridleway finally opens
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One of England's longest national trails has finally been opened, with a formal event featuring Martin Clunes.

The Doc Martin actor is also chairman of the British Horse Society (BHS) and he may be among many people putting on a riding helmet and enjoying the 250-mile trail, which has been especially designed with horse-riders in mind because it contains no stiles.

Natural England has been the driving force behind the project, concluding numerous agreements with landowners to establish the trail and spending £10 million in the process.

Starting at Middleton top in Derbyshire, it then enters the Peak District and proceeds northwards, passing through part of the Yorkshire Dales near the famous three peaks before ending at Street in Cumbria, near Kirkby Stephen.

The route will also be available for those sat on mountain bikes or wearing walking boots.

Commenting on this flexibility, BHS chief executive Graham Cory said: "The fact that riders, cyclists and walkers will all be able to use this excellent new facility lends weight to the Society's long held view, strongly supported by Defra Minister Richard Benyon, that the best value for the greatest number is achieved when all off-road routes are open to all non-motorised, vulnerable users."

The formal opening of the trail took place at Far Moor in the Yorkshire Dales, site of one of many bridges on the route, but one which has won two construction awards - the 2011 British Construction Industry Special Award and a Highly Commended accolade at that year's Wood Awards.

Long-distance walkers have had their own route up the length of the Pennines in the form of the Pennine Way since the 1960s, running from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland, just over the border from Northumberland.

However, this route is unsuitable for horses in many places, such as the boggy plateaux of the High Peak.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801383496-ADNFCR