PROVISIONAL maps outlining new areas accessible to ramblers in the North West and large areas of the Yorkshire Dales will be published by the Government's Countryside Agency next Monday (November 18).
They will give farmers and the owners of sporting or common grazing rights three months to appeal if they think their interests have not been taken into account - but anyone with a grievance who fails to appeal will lose the opportunity by February 18 next year.
The "rights to roam" legislation was promised in the first Labour Government's manifesto more than five year ago but has proved difficult to implement. The new provisional maps have been amended as a result of 8,000 comments received from the public and 2,500 site visits by the mapmakers.
The maps cover what the agency calls the "lower North West" and includes the whole of Lancashire, much of North Yorkshire - including the whole of Craven - and parts of Cumbria, moving south as far as the Peak District, another area popular amongst walkers.
Explaining which the publication of the provisional maps was several months behind schedule, Roger Ward, the agency's Head of Access, comments: "We felt it was important to adopt a thorough approach rather than to rush through the job."
The maps will be made available to parish council clerks and other local authorities (ring the mapping helpline on 0845 100 3298). For more details, see www.countryside.gov.uk/access/mapping