Bid to make rural parts of North East more accessible gets underway

People urged to donate a gate to help boost access to rural parts of the region for people from across the country

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire A view of snow covered fields in Teesdale, County Durham, following one of the coldest nights of the year
A view of snow covered fields in Teesdale, County Durham

A scheme is urging people to “Donate a Gate” in a bid to make some of the North East’s most rural parts accessible.

The Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership and the Friends of the North Pennines are working together to roll out the scheme across the wider area.

The idea behind the scheme is to make the area’s popular footpaths more accessible by replacing awkward stiles with gates, and members of the public are being encouraged to sponsor a gate to make this possible.

The scheme invites members of the public to pay for a stile to be replaced and the new gate fitted with an engraved plaque. This could be in remembrance of a loved one, to commemorate a special occasion or as a gift to someone who loves walking in Teesdale and the North Pennines.

Everyone who ‘Donates a Gate’ will be given a choice of the location of the gate, choose their engraving and receive a personalised map of the area around their gate.

“This scheme is a great way to leave a lasting tribute whilst benefitting the hundreds of walkers that will use that route in the future,” said Emma Ashton-Wickett, Heart of Teesdale Paths Officer. “We hope that this scheme will be as popular here as it has been in other parts of the country.”

This scheme forms part of the Partnership’s Paths for All People project that aims to improve the footpaths and bridleways around rural areas, making them more suitable and accessible. This includes work on the Teesdale Way, the Tees Railway Path and the Greta Way.

The focus for the scheme within the North Pennines is on the route of the Pennine Journey, a route originally devised by the renowned Alfred Wainwright.

Dan Black, 28, of Teesdale, said: “There are a lot of different schemes happening to try and make this area more accessible. Hopefully, people will see the merit in taking part.

“This is a beautiful area and we want people to enjoy it as much as possible.”

For more information on the scheme please contact Emma Ashton-Wickett on 03000 260645 or emma.ashton@durham.gov.uk , or Friends of the North Pennines on fotnp@hotmail.co.uk.

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