After more than thirty years of uncertainty, a Government appointed Inspector has confirmed that Walna Scar, one of the Lake District's most popular fell passes, will be permanently closed to vehicles.
National Park Countryside Access Adviser Nick Thorne said that the complexities of the legislation and the sheer amount of documents and arguments put by all the parties involved had made this one of the most difficult investigations into rights of way status that the national park had ever undertaken.
Over 600 pages were sent to the Inspector including guide books from 1835 to the modern era. Evidence also included maps from as far back as 1745, as well as highway surveyor's records from the late eighteenth century, quarry leases from the late nineteenth century and photographs from the 1920s.
'Although complex, it was fascinating to be able to draw up a history of the route in this way – it certainly helps us understand the area and its relationship with the quarries and road network over the last few centuries' said Nick Thorne.
'The Secretary of State has finally concluded that the correct legal status of the route is a 'Restricted Byway' – which, unless legislation changes, will remain its status into the future. Consequently the route will be open to all traffic, except motorised vehicles.'
From now on any off-roader or motor cyclist using Walna Scar, between Coniston and Seathwaite, will be committing an offence.