FINAL preparations are underway for the 50th anniversary celebrations of one of the great innovations in the English countryside - the opening of the 268-mile-long Pennine Way.
The long distance footpath, the first of its kind in Britain, was formally opened at Malham Tarn, near Skipton, on April 24, 1965. At the time, many opponents thought it would be a disaster for country folk. In fact, it has been an invaluable source of income for small local businesses.
It is used by some 150,000 people a year, 3,500 of whom complete the entire distance from the Derbyshire Peak District to the Scottish border. It is managed by the Countryside Agency, which is hoping that veteran walkers who tramped its paths 40 years ago will turn out again to mark the birthday.