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Easier Access on Dales Way

Families and less mobile visitors can now enjoy even more of the Dales Way footpath as it wends its way through the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

A section of the footpath in Wharfedale has been given a facelift to make it more accessible for people who are less mobile, use wheelchairs or who have young children.

Hebden suspension bridge

YDNPA staff and Dales Way Association members at the Hebden suspension bridge photo courtesy of Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

And the improvement work – carried out by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) – has been given a thumbs up as it re-opens to the public, according to Phil Richards, the Authority’s Area Ranger for Wharfedale and Littondale.

“The Dales Way is an important recreational route that runs through the National Park from Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere and it is very popular all year round,” he said.

“A section of it, running north from the Red Lion pub in Burnsall and finishing just before Loup Scar, was improved for wheelchair access some years ago.

“Over the past few weeks we have done more work to replace existing steps with surfaced ramps to create assisted wheelchair access beyond the Scar and eventually to the suspension bridge at Hebden.”

The work was funded by Dales Integrated Transport Alliance and was inspired by wheelchair user and Craven College teacher Jack Morgan, who said: “It was great to see the improvements that have been made to the footpath at Loup Scar. It has opened up the accessibility of a beautiful stretch of the River Wharfe, enabling people regardless of their mobility to visit this picturesque location.

“It felt great to be able to follow the footpath to places that I have not been for seven years.”

Work has also finished replacing the decking, handrails and ramps on the iconic Hebden suspension bridge, which is more than 130 years old. Funding for the repairs was by way of a kind donation from an individual via the Dales Way Association.

Phil said: “It’s a popular crossing that attracts thousands of users every year walking the Dales Way and all those feet have worn the oak decking boards down.
“The bridge remained open as the work was undertaken – which slowed things down – but shutting it would have caused a major inconvenience for walkers on the path.”

Other work recently completed on the Dales Way includes the replacement of Woodhouse Bridge at Hartlington, The bridge, which was installed by Royal Engineers more than 30 years ago, was showing signs of rot and needed to be replaced.

Local contractors Hartlington Fencing Supplies carried out the work on behalf of the National Park Authority and replaced the existing bridge with a new, higher specification crossing making it easier for people to access.

The YDNPA Ranger Service is committed to maintaining public rights of way throughout the National Park and welcomes contributions from others to help and support the on-going work it carries out.


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