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25 March 2004
4x4s banned from Ridgeway in Winter

Drivers of 4X4 vehicles are to be banned from using parts of Britainís oldest known road this winter. Quadbikes, trail bikes and off-road cars will face a seasonal ban from vulnerable sections of the ancient Ridgeway which runs from Wiltshire to Buckinghamshire. The 'mudlarks' have been blamed for causing ruts in the 85-mile route, which is thought to be at least 6,000-years-old and was used by prehistoric man.
     All six councils along the route, which runs from Overton Hill, near Avebury in the south, to Ivinghoe Beacon, north of Aylesbury, and includes numerous Stone Age and Iron Age hill forts and burial mounds, have agreed to the seasonal ban which will be imposed from October. The implementation follows meetings with rural affairs minister Alun Michael and campaigners who have sought a complete ban on vehicles since 1983. But off-road enthusiasts such as the Land Access and Recreation Association say they are a small minority and have been victimised. They claim farmers and horses cause more damage.
     Ian Ritchie, chairman of the Friends Of The Ridgeway, said: "This ban is excellent news for all walkers, horse riders and cyclists who wish to enjoy the Ridgeway in peace, free from the ruts and mud that make the trail hazardous and unpleasant."

Source: The Scotsman (24 March 2004)

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