Northumberland National Park has been asked to take over the care of a cross-country path following the collapse of a tourism body.
The park is to take over the running of the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail – which brings thousands of tourists to the North East – after Hadrian’s Wall Trust announced its closure due to funding problems.
The Trail runs the length of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, passing through some of the most beautiful parts of England.
It is currently managed through a partnership including Natural England, English Heritage, Northumberland County Council, Cumbria County Council, Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA), North Tyneside Council and Newcastle City Council, but Hadrian’s Wall Trust had been in charge of it.
Tony Gates, chief executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “We understand the synergy and value of the trail to the work of the National Park and its economic importance to the whole World Heritage Site.
“We want to demonstrate our commitment by agreeing to be lead partner managing this unique resource for the businesses and the 1.75 million visitors they serve each year.
“We now look forward to a smooth and timely transfer of this service so that businesses, users of the National Trail and other stakeholders can be reassured of its ongoing management.”
The condition of the trail impacts directly on the archaeology of the Roman frontier, many of which are important tourist destinations.
Mike Collins, inspector of ancient monuments for English Heritage, said: “With spring around the corner, we want to reassure people that the partnership recognises the importance of maintenance work on the trail in the protection of the World Heritage Site.
“We are encouraged to see the rapid response of the Highway Authorities and the National Park Authority to ensure the trail is maintained and the Wall is protected.”
Andrew Poad, from the National Trust, a major landowner along the Wall, added: “The National Trust is delighted to see Northumberland National Park Authority leading on the future management of the National Trail.
“We have always worked in close partnership with them implementing and managing the Trail.
“We are therefore confident they completely understand the critical issues for visitors, landowners and the historic and natural heritage.
“I am sure that, with a speedy transition, the Trail will be in top condition for the visitor season.”