SOLUTIONS to address noise nuisance for residents along part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks route are to be debated at a meeting of the Yorkshire Dales Authority next month.

The Authority has been involved in discussions with residents of Horton-in-Ribblesdale who claim to suffer excessive noise and disturbance from large groups of walkers, mostly supporting charity fundraisers.

Residents of the village have complained of loud music and noise from revellers from as early as 5am most weekends during the summer months.

Farmers are also said to have been dismayed at gates being left open and noise disturbance along the 26-mile route.

A Three Peaks Working Group has been set up to help look for long-term solutions to the problems local residents have been facing.

One of the results has been the formation of a draft code of conduct to be issued to all participants of the walk, particularly those involved with charity events.

The draft code of conduct was submitted to a recent working group meeting with some suggestions made for additional information to be added and approved at a later meeting.

Recently alternative suggestions for a new starting and finishing point, away from Horton-in-Ribblesdale where the majority of walkers begin and end their walk from, have been put forward.

One suggestion was to have the start and finish in Ingleton, though this would add around nine kilometres to the route, while another suggestions from Allan Shutt, landlord of The Station Inn, at Ribblehead, suggested having the start from Ribblehead. He suggested having the old quarry site as a car park and asking the national park to consider putting public conveniences there.

The Authority says it is taking the problems raised by parishioners seriously.

Yorkshire Dales National Park chairman Carl Lis said: “We are working closely with the local community in and around Horton-in-Ribblesdale to help address concerns about the behaviour of some people undertaking the Three Peaks route.

"We have drafted a new simple code of conduct, aimed at individuals, that can be given out by event organisers and car park owners in Horton. I understand this will be discussed at the Parish Council later this month.

“The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority will also be debating the issues and options from a visitor management perspective at its next meeting in December.

"Clearly alternative starts will be part of that discussion. Ingleton has been suggested, and we know that some people already choose to start the walk from Ribblehead or Chapel le Dale.

“I think it is important to keep this all in perspective. We know there are about 20 Saturdays a year when there are large organised charity events, but there have been fewer such events this year than last year.

"We do not want to put people off walking the Three Peaks. Three Peaks visitors bring income into the local economy with people staying overnight before and after their walk. The community also benefits directly through the revenue generated by opening up fields for parking. We want people to enjoy the national park, but to do so responsibly.”

He added: “At this stage I’m very doubtful the old quarry at Ribblehead would be suitable for parking. This is now part of the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve and is a beautiful place to visit.”

A recent meeting of the Three Peaks Working Group, a sub committee of Horton-in-Ribblesdale Parish Council, members discussed the draft code of conduct, produced in two parts to address the organisers of group walks and also individual walkers.

Noise, parking, and litter was discussed as the main focus of the code and was felt that the three headings should be highlighted and in bold print on the document to emphasise their importance.

The group agreed the importance of social media in getting the message across to the public and it was agreed to promote the code on Facebook.

Once approved it would be placed on the YDNP and the parish council websites, also circulated to all known organisational groups that participate in the Three Peaks Walk as well at at bed and breakfast establishments and pubs.

The problem of large numbers of people walking through farms whilst participating in the walk was highlighted, leaving farm gates open, and disturbing farm residents, also the environmental damage to the area through such large numbers, and the pollution from their vehicles.