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Work starts on latest section of Dales trail

[Tuesday 21 March 2006]

Work has started on the next phase of a new National Trail running through the Yorkshire Dales.

A section of the Pennine Bridleway - along the Hale Lane and Flascoe bridleways between Feizor and Austwick - will be given a facelift as part of the project which aims to create a new route across the Dales that is suitable for horse riders, cyclists and walkers.

The Pennine Bridleway: A new National Trail for horse riders, off-road cyclists and walkers
The Pennine Bridleway: A new National Trail for horse riders,
off-road cyclists and walkers

National Park staff will be supervising the restoration work using traditional countryside management techniques. As well as repairs to the drainage network, there will also be some vegetation and tree clearance along the route which will include the removal of dead, dying or dangerous trees near or on the bridleways as well as some tree replanting where necessary.

Project Officer Gareth Evans, who has been responsible for all the work so far, said: "The aim of the project is to sympathetically restore the routes without compromising their natural beauty, tranquillity and ancient character.

"There is a lot of work to be done but it will be worth it because there will be a marked improvement for everyone who uses the bridleways.

"We have had a lot of support and help from local landowners, Austwick Parish Council and local residents, which has been vital in getting the next phase off the ground."

Funded largely through the Countryside Agency, the Pennine Bridleway is a new National Trail designed specifically for horse riders, off-road cyclists and walkers to enjoy, which will eventually cover a distance of 350 miles from the High Peak Trail in Derbyshire to Byrness in Northumberland.

The Trail enters the National Park at Long Preston, weaving through some of the most spectacular scenery that the Dales has to offer via Settle, Malham Moor, Feizor, Austwick, Selside, Newby Head and exiting at the Cumbria county boundary above Garsdale.

The first section of the Trail within the Yorkshire Dales National Park - the Settle Loop - was opened in August last year. The 10-mile circuit starts and finishes in Settle and stretches east towards Malham. It was created to provide a day-long excursion for horse riders, mountain bikers and walkers wanting to spend time exploring the Yorkshire Dales rather than just passing through on their way up or down the Trail.

The idea for the Pennine Bridleway came from Mary Towneley, who, in 1986, rode from Derbyshire to Northumberland to highlight the state of the country's bridleways. A circular route, called the Mary Towneley Loop, includes Hebden Bridge and Todmorden and forms part of the 120 miles of the route already open to the public.

For more information about the Pennine Bridleway or to plan a trip along the trail, visit the Pennine Bridleway website at www.nationaltrail.co.uk/penninebridleway

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