THE CONTROVERSIAL "right to roam" Act comes to the Yorkshire Dales National Park this weekend, throwing open large areas of land which previously were forbidden to walkers.
Although the new legislation has been bitterly opposed by some landowners and farmers who fear damage to walls, stiles and footpaths, the national park authority is throwing a party to inaugurate the new system.
Walkers will be able to step off the hundreds of miles of footpaths and bridleways and explore nearly 400 sq miles (1,022 sq kms) more access land which will be opened up when the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 comes into force in the Upper North West and North East England on Saturday (May 28).
The new right of open access will be launched by the YDNPA in partnership with the Countryside Agency, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and English Nature at Ribblehead in the shadow of Yorkshire's famous Three Peaks - Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside.
Guests will include Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight and mountaineer Doug Scott CBE, who was one of the first Britons to climb Everest.
They will be invited to experience the new right first-hand by taking part in a series of guided walks around the Ribblehead area, which includes the wonderful Ingleborough National Nature Reserve, famous for its special limestone geology and associated flora.