County Durham beauty spot damaged by off-road vehicles
Date of alert:
Monday, 20 March 2023
A beauty spot popular with walkers and cyclists is being damaged by off-road vehicles, say councillors.
Doctors Gate at Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland, has faced "significant" damage from vehicles in recent months.
Durham County Council said it was ramping up measures to tackle the illegal activity.
A ban on all motor vehicles has been granted for two years, following a six-month trial.
The restriction, known as a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO), can lead to a maximum penalty of £1,000, if breached.
"The use of unauthorised vehicles in this area is not only illegal, it has damaged the natural environment," said John Shuttleworth, cabinet member for highways, rural communities and community safety.
He said the area was visited by thousands of people each year with many using it for cycling, horse riding and walking.