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Reaching out to Three Peaks walkers

Bainbridge, 18 December, 2018

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has agreed new action to reach out to Three Peaks walkers – while reaffirming that the spectacular landscape is a national treasure to be enjoyed by all.

Members agreed to establish an online notification scheme, in which people would be encouraged to register their interest in walking the Three Peaks. This would mean the Authority could communicate directly with them about responsible behaviour and enjoyment of the National Park.  

Walkers would be supplied with the new Three Peaks code of conduct (click and scroll down to Appendix 2), which has been developed by a range of interests in Horton in Ribblesdale.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Member Champion for Recreation Management, Nick Cotton, said:  “People all over Yorkshire – and all over the country – have a special affection for the Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent.   Many, many people have been introduced to the pleasures of the Yorkshire Dales landscape through taking on the challenge of walking all three fells in a day.  

“The Three Peaks were attracting walkers before the Yorkshire Dales National Park was designated, and as an Authority we do not actively promote the walk route, yet I think we can regard the enduring popularity of the walk as something of a success for the National Park.  The walk is good for people’s health; good for the charities which walkers often raise money for; and good for the local economy of the area with pubs and cafes selling refreshments, people staying overnight before and after the walk, and the community benefitting by charging for parking on land near the traditional starting point in Horton.

“But with success – and high numbers of people – come some challenges, not least noise and anti-social behaviour.  There has been conflict between some visitors and some parts of the community.   We have worked diligently to ensure the path network is kept to an excellent standard, and we have worked closely with national charities and the local community to help to manage the impact of large scale events.  

“Today the Authority agreed fresh actions – in particular to create an online notification scheme, to reach out to Three Peaks visitors whatever their group size so that they know what is expected of them in terms of behaviour and help them plan their visit.  

“To individuals we are saying that it is unacceptable to disturb the rest of the people of Horton and other villages by making a racket early in a morning or late in the evening.  To event organisers we are strongly advising them to plan their event carefully in advance – and, if their group size is more than 100 people – to register their event with us, so that we can help avoid clashes.”

He added:  “The Three Peaks walk is a 24 mile route with at least 4 potential start points - Horton, Ribblehead, Chapel le Dale and Ingleton.  The best and most effective type of ‘policing’ of behaviour is peer to peer.  So if everyone undertaking the Three Peaks knows that anti-social behaviour isn’t acceptable before they come, it can only be a good thing. The Three Peaks walk is often people’s first experience of the National Park and we want them to enjoy it.”

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