Residents and a county councillor have raised concerns over a restricted byway in a local beauty spot following action taken by Northumberland County Council.

For decades, the byway located off Moor Road, in open countryside near Prudhoe, has been enjoyed by horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians.

It also runs alongside a patch of ancient woodland.

Large rocks had been at the Prudhoe end of the byway, helping to restrict motor vehicles from using the byway, but following a complaint made to the council, they were removed.

Reports have been received in the past about the illegal use of off-road motorbikes, poaching and flytipping.

However, according to the local county councillor, residents now feel that with the removal of the rocks there will be an increase in problems.

It is feared cars and vans could damage the surface and pose a danger to walkers and wildlife.

Coun. Gordon Stewart, who represents Prudhoe South, said: “I am concerned that as the area is enjoyed by more people than ever before that some may make the removal of the rocks an excuse to misuse the byway.

“I have asked that the decision is reviewed and an alternative way of allowing lawful access to this byway is found without having a ‘free for all’ and endangering the area and risk to humans and animals.

“I wish to emphasise that it is illegal for anyone to drive a motorised vehicle along this restricted byway without authority.

“The police are aware of the possibility of this happening and will patrol the area and take action if required. The public are encouraged to report any such incidents to the police.”