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18 November 2004
Vehicles banned on 6000 year-old road

Motorbikes and 4x4 vehicles have been banned from using a 6,000 year-old road. The Ridgeway National Trail in south Oxfordshire, England, is an ancient chalk ridge route used by prehistoric man, and is one of the oldest roads in Britain.
    The route, which runs across the Chilterns and the Wessex Downs, has been churned up in previous years by trail bikers and off-road drivers, is the subject of a temporary order imposed by several district councils along its length.
    A spokeswoman for one of the councils said: "We have undertaken extensive surface repairs and drainage improvements on the trail over the last two years. I am pleased to say that the condition of the Ridgeway is improving. However, we need to protect the most vulnerable sections from unacceptable levels of damage over the winter."
    Chairman of the Friends Of The Ridgeway, Ian Ritchie, said: "A voluntary code of respect has been in operation on the Ridgeway for 10 years but has plainly not been working. 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: BBC (12 November 2004)

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