Dartmoor to replace stiles to enable access for all
In a bid to improve access for everyone, authorities at Dartmoor are suggesting the removal of stiles from the national park, dailymail.co.uk reports.
A report issued by the Dartmoor National Park Authority has said that "many people, such as those with limited mobility and families with pushchairs find path structures, particularly stiles, a barrier to gaining access to and enjoying the countryside".
As a consequence, landowners are to be asked to replace stiles if possible with a less 'restrictive option'. Stiles will remain where alternatives are not practical, for example, the report continues, "due to gradients or ground conditions". Where changes can be made, it is likely that those out walking will pass through plain gaps or gates where livestock is situated.
The Park Authority has been keen to find ways in which more people, regardless of mobility, can enjoy the park while bearing land management in mind. The changes have been unanimously approved, thus will become policy but landowners are not legally obliged to take any action.
Many people will be sad to see the removal of Dartmoor's stiles, which express.co.uk says have been recognised as a 'top countryside icon' in a poll by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Additionally, some landowners are worried about the use - or misuse of gates. Ed Williams, director of Dartmoor Farmers' Association highlighted concerns that gates could be left open, allowing livestock to escape.
"A stile can never be left open and livestock can never get through them - gates are the opposite."