Dartmoor re-opens today after farm virus

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The Independent Online

Dartmoor National Park, one of the most symbolic victims of the foot-and-mouth epidemic, fully reopens today.

The park was closed for the first time in its history in February, with ramblers and horse riders kept away to prevent the disease spreading through the livestock which grazes on the moorland. South and east Dartmoor reopened to the public on 9 June, but the remaining northern moor has been sealed off until now.

Nick Atkinson, Chief Executive of the Park Authority, announced the reopening yesterday. "The national park is back in business for the purposes for which it exists, a great place to visit and explore and in which to live and work," he said. "I am as thrilled as everyone to be walking on the moor again and enjoying the beauty and wildlife of Dartmoor at this stunning time of the year."

Dartmoor business are hoping the move boosts local trade.

There was one confirmed outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease on Dartmoor at a farm in Dunnabridge, around which access is still restricted.

Devon, one of the counties worst hit by foot-and- mouth, how has 4,090 miles of paths and bridleways open.

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