PEOPLE may soon be able to walk freely across some of the wildest and most remote parts of the Yorkshire Dales.

More than 4,000sq km of land in the north-west dales could be opened to the public under new access rights.

The Countryside Agency is holding a roadshow, where anyone can see and comment on a map showing the proposed access rights.

Paul Mutch, the agency's senior countryside officer, said: "The draft map will detail the land we think is open country - mountain, moor, heath and down land - or registered common land, because these new rights will apply on those types of land.

"The map is the first stage in a three step process to get in place the new access rights from the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. When completed, this work will enable people to walk freely across registered common land and open country."

The map will be on display on Saturday at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's Grassington office, from 10am to 4pm, then the Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes, on January 25, Kirkby Stephen Masonic Hall on January 30, and Pateley Bridge Memorial Hall on February 1. Public presentations will be held at 1.15pm.

The map will also be on show in libraries, national park visitor centres and some local authority offices. For information, call 0845 100 3298 or visit