MOUNTAIN-bikers and horse riders who until now have had to ford the River Dee in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Yorkshire Dales can now look forward to keeping their feet dry.
The Yorkshire Dales national park is spending £35,000 on a maintenance grant to restore Tommy Bridge, near the village of Dent in the Cumbrian sector of the park, so that riders will be able to cross the river in comfort.
Over the years, thousands of walkers have used it but horse riders and cyclists have not been so lucky. Because it was too narrow for them, they have had to get their feet wet walking through the water. And that could be a problem when the river was running high.
But that will soon change. National park rangers and volunteers are now working with contractors to replace the 16.5m long footbridge with a new bridleway bridge that can accommodate horses and cycles too. And they will be upgrading the network of paths in the area as well.
Paul Wilkinson, the YDNPA Area Ranger for Cumbria, said: "The main wooden supports on the existing bridge had rotted away - it was too far gone to repair.
"Depending on the weather, we are hoping to have the new bridge itself finished before the end of the year but it will remain closed until early February because there is a lot of work involved in the whole scheme including improving the bridleway link to Sike Fold Lane below Whernside Manor for the first time."