Dales farmer John Sedgewick by the new footbridge
Work has just finished on improvements and alterations to public footpaths going through Nether Lodge Farm, including the diversion round the yard of one of the busiest footpaths in the area.
Over the last few months, contractors working for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) have been building a bridge over a beck near the farm in readiness for the footpath diversion.
The curved footbridge was made out of oak and larch to fit in with the character of the surrounding fields and all the timber was sourced from sustainably-managed British woodlands.
Steve Hastie, the YDNPA Area Ranger for Ribblesdale, said: "Several public footpaths converge at Nether Lodge - three from the north and two from the south and one goes through the farmyard and is part of the popular Three Peaks route, as well as carrying the well-used 'Ribble Way' trail.
"As a result, the footpath was exceptionally well used and large numbers of people went through the yard throughout the year, particularly at weekends. In fact, there were regular sponsored walks with up to 500 people using the route throughout the spring and summer and the Three Peaks fell race also used the route every year with up to 550 competitors passing through the yard.
Having the diversion over the new footbridge gives us the freedom to go about our business
John Sedgewick - Dales farmer
"The owners of Nether Lodge applied for the public footpath to be diverted out of the farmyard to the north of the farm onto a route giving more open views across moorland and pasture to the northeast and producing a route that is easier to follow as well as safer and more pleasant.
"The diversion order was made following widespread consultation with no objections and, as a result, a new, 14m footbridge was needed over Ling Gill Beck."
Farmer John Sedgewick contributed by building an aggregate track to carry the footpath to the bridge.
"Having the diversion over the new footbridge gives us the freedom to go about our business," he said.
"Before, we couldn't work with the sheep in the yard on Saturdays and Sundays - there could be up to 2,000 walkers coming through on a summer's weekend."