Walking Paths Reopen in Many Areas of Britain

The Times London bureau

Walking routes have largely been reopened in England and Wales, but recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in South Wales, Yorkshire and the Lake District of Cumbria mean that those areas have some locally imposed restrictions.

Other counties have reopened most of their pathways, but a few farmers and local councils may keep restrictions on public footpaths that bisect farmland they consider at risk of contamination.

"Britain is 99% open," says Elliot Frisby of the British Tourist Board. "Our new rural affairs ministry is working on getting the last local restrictions lifted.... Obviously there are still restrictions on paths where there have been new outbreaks in the Brecon Beacons in Wales, but otherwise there is nothing that should stop anyone from going anywhere they want."

The Ramblers Assn. has a good Web site for hikers, http://www.ramblers .org.uk, with updates on the latest local walking information in England, Wales and Scotland.

Most moorland areas and footpaths around the Welsh mountains are open, except in the Brecon Beacons. For the most current information, visitors should call the Welsh tourist board at 011-44-2920-499-909 or visit its Web site, http://www.visitwales.com, before their trip, because the situation changes daily and local landowners may still impose their own bans.

All public footpaths in Scotland have been declared open by the Scottish tourist board, also with the proviso that some local farmers will keep their land closed for fear of contamination.

The board advises that although all Scottish parks, castles, historic properties and gardens are open, outdoor events such as Highland Games and agricultural shows could be canceled. Some of these take place in or around farmland, so check with the Scottish tourist board, 011-44-131-332-2433, http://www.visitscotland.com, before planning a trip to rural events.

The Republic of Ireland's footpaths are open to tourists. The tourist board in Dublin advises only that visitors should not bring in any meat or dairy products.

Compiled by The Times staff

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