Dereham Moor open to the public after access is improved

Kissing gate at Wheetling Castle. 2 of 2

Kissing gate at Wheetling Castle. 2 of 2 - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Access to one of Dereham's moors has been granted to the public, following an agreement between the private landowner and local pressure groups.

The Open Spaces Society, Britain's leading pressure-group for the protection of common land, and Dereham Walkers Are Welcome were delighted when Mr Anema, the owner of Badley Moor common, added a kissing-gate to the boundary, giving access to the land.

For some time when there was no effective access to the land. A stile had been put up, but this failed to meet Natural England's accessibility criteria and remained a barrier to many people with restricted mobility.

The public had rights of access here but people walking to the common on public footpaths were forced to stop at the boundary.

Ken Hawkins of Walkers Are Welcome Dereham said: 'We are delighted that this access has finally been provided and we encourage people to look at this ancient common, also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It can be accessed from a lengthy public footpath running from Dumpling Green east to Mattishall Road, an extremely pleasant walk in its own right.'

The moor features a large area of spring-fed valley fen and grassland, as well as clearly-developed tufa formations where deposition of calcium carbonate has created a series of flushed hummocks.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, added: 'It is excellent that people can exercise their rights to enjoy this lovely common which has been barred to them for so long, thanks to the generosity of Dereham Town Council in providing the kissing-gate.'