A 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales
A Dales High Way Walk: a 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales

A Dales High Way

News Archive 2020

Skipton High Street on Countryfile

BBC Countryfile filming in Skipton

BBC Countryfile's presenter Tom Heap spent time in Skipton last week, filming for the popular TV series. He was in the High Street, looking at the effects of the lockdown on the town.

He talked to Shipley artist Jenny Tribillon, a signwriter and window artist who originates from the South of France. Jenny has been commissioned by the Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) to transform some of the empty shop windows into painted winter scenes. They chatted as she put the finishing touches to a mural on the end of the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill store between the High Street and Sheep Street.

Jenny, known as Jenny Froglet, was trained in window painting by the American artist Leslie Ronald. She said she was very pleased with the way the windows had turned out with many people telling her how they brightened up the High Street.

Tom also talked to staff at Jenson Samuel as they prepare to reopen the men's wear shop this week when this latest lockdown is lifted and Skipton moves into Tier 2 level of restrictions.

Skipton has repeatedly been shown to be one of "the happiest places to live" in surveys undertaken by the Office for National Statistics and others. Property website RightMove was the latest to give it the accolade last week after a survey of 21,000 respondents. It is a major stopover point for walkers on A Dales High Way.

The filming is due to be televised on Sunday, December 13.

See BBC's Countryfile here, and Skipton BID here.

1 Dec 2020

A Tale of Two Bogs

Flagged path fixed over bog on Ilkley Moor

On November 8 a walker posted a warning message on the Ilkley Chat Facebook page:

"Walkers and runners please be careful on the valley side of the stoned section of the Dales Highway, there’s a VERY DEEP BOG. I saw a runner ended up to his waist. I went to help and the stone slab tilted and ended too nearly stuck. It's a section heading away from ilkley just before you can turn left to 12 Apostles (or right to head towards a Keighley gate). I’ll try get a message to the Council. This is very dangerous. There was unfortunately no wood or debris to make a warn cairn."

The post went viral very quickly, with 82 shares and over 100 comments.

Meanwhile, workers and volunteers from Moors for the Future were out elsewhere on Ilkley Moor, planting sphagnum moss to help regenerate the moor's bogs, a major contributor to carbon capture and the fight against the climate change catastrophe. The 5 year, £15 million EU funded project - MoorLife 2020 - will protect the health of 95 square kilometres of active blanket bog in the South Pennines.

Rangers from Bradford Council's Countryside Service were out the next day and fixed the flagged path. The bog will take a little longer to recover.

It's perhaps worth remembering that the flagging of the path here - using old mill flags from Manchester - was only undertaken in 2011. Until that time walkers and runners had to cover the trail as best they could, with just a little wooden boardwalk to help.

And the flagging wasn't installed in the first place for the benefit of walkers or runners, but to protect the bogs from the erosion they caused!

See Moors for the Future here, and our previous posting here.

15 Nov 2020

Flash Floods Batter the Western Dales

Appleby floods November 2020

Sunday night saw flash floods across North Yorkshire and the western Dales as the storm ex-Hurricane Zeta struck.

As the water levels kept rising Appleby Emergency Response Group worked through the night keeping in regular contact with the Environment Agency. The warning to take immediate action came just after 4am and by 5.30am the River Eden had burst its banks and was on the pavement.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said they had worked throughout Sunday night to respond to "multiple" reports of flooding, using crews from Hawes, Reeth, Leyburn, Colburn, Bentham, Settle, Skipton, Lofthouse, Grassington and Richmond.

Roads were closed in Dentdale, Sedbergh, Garsdale, Skipton, Addingham and Ilkley. Trains on the Settle-Carlisle line were cancelled as the line flooded. Heavy rain overnight had caused flooding at Melling Tunnel, between Settle and Blea Moor, and between Hellifield and Carnforth. As a result, both the Skipton and Carlisle and Skipton and Lancaster lines were closed in both directions.

FELL rescue volunteers went to the aid of Yorkshire Three Peaks walkers on Sunday as they struggled with bad weather near to the summit of Ingleborough. The Clapham based Cave Rescue sent a team out in search of the three walkers at just before 6pm who in the end managed to get back down to the peak themselves.

As of today, the flood waters are receding, but the legacy of damage to roads, paths and bridges remains to be seen. And this all has to dealt with as new lockdown restrictions begin.

See our previous post here.

3 Nov 2020

Dales High Way in top 25 Big Trails of British Isles

Big Trails - Great Britain and Ireland

A Dales High Way heads up the list in a stunning new book highlighting the best 25 long-distance trails in the British Isles.

Big Trails - Great Britain and Ireland is published this week by Sheffield based Vertebrate Publishing, who have been producing award-winning outdoor adventure and mountaineering guides since 2004.

The big glossy book "is an inspirational guide to the most iconic, spectacular and popular long-distance trails in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland,, Ireland and the Isle of Man." It is crammed with gorgeous pictures, informative overviews and detailed outlines of each of the 25 featured routes.

It features 4 big trails on the island of Ireland, including the "Best Off the Beaten Track Trail" - the Beara Way; 3 in Scotland, including "Britain's Friendliest Trail" - the West Highland Way; 3 in Wales, including the "Wildest Adventure" - the Cambrian Way; and the Isles of Man's  Raad ny Foillan - "Perfect for All the Family".

Of the remaining 14 trails, 5 cross Yorkshire: The Pennine Way; Wainwright's Coast to Coast; The Cleveland Way; the Dales Way and A Dales High Way.

A Dales High Way is described as one of the "undiscovered gems" amongst the trails. "...the verdant lushness of the Eden valley, the timelessness of dry stone walls lining high pastures, the sparkling waterfalls, and the wide blue bird-strewn skies will make you fall in love with this high route over the Dales. In spring you crush wild garlic in bluebell-rich woods, and in summer the moors glow purple with heather. On a fine day this may be the brightest and most beautiful countryside you'll encounter in England."

The book is designed to inspire big adventures rather than be carried as a guide and provides everything needed to plan and explore further.

Big Trails - Great Britain and Ireland, edited by Kathy Rogers and Stephen Ross, (Vertebrate Publishing, ISBN 9781839810008) £17.99.

See the Big Trails at Vertebrate Publishing here.

19 Oct 2020

Amazing new tool for mountain rescue

An amazing new way of reaching injured walkers on the fells was tested out in Langdale, Cumbria last week.

A jet suit which could fly a paramedic to an isolated casualty in minutes has been described as “awesome” by an air ambulance service which covers parts of Yorkshire and Cumbria.

The system has been demonstrated in a test flight in the Lake District after a year of discussions between the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and the firm which has developed the technology, Gravity Industries.

Richard Browning , Gravity Industries founder and chief test pilot, flew from the valley bottom in Langdale, Cumbria, to a simulated casualty site on The Band, near Bowfell.

GNAAS said the casualty site would have taken around 25 minutes to reach by foot but Mr Browning arrived in his 1050 brake horsepower jet suit in 90 seconds, and that the suit could save lives.

Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS, said the Lake District could be a possible location for a “Jet Suit paramedic” following a study of the charity’s call-out data.

He said: “It showed dozens of patients every month within the complex but relatively small geographical footprint of the Lakes. We could see the need. What we didn’t know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well, we’ve seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome.”

GNAAS and Gravity Industries said they wanted to thank Langdale Mountain Rescue Team, the National Trust, Stool End Farm and Cumbria Police for helping make the test possible.

See Gravity Industries here, and the Great North Air Ambulance Service here.

1 October 2020

Hen Harrier breeding success

HenHarriersNest_(image_Stephen_Murphy,_Natural_England.)

It has been the best year for hen harrier breeding in England since Natural England’s hen harrier recovery project was established in 2002, with 60 chicks fledged from 19 nests across Northumberland, the Yorkshire Dales, Cumbria and Lancashire in early summer 2020.

Natural England has attached satellite tags to 23 of these birds.

The success has been down to several factors including high numbers of voles which are a key food source, good weather, and strong partnership working.

Hen harriers were once found across upland and lowland Britain, however after 1830 it became an exceptionally rare breeding bird in England due to raptor persecution, which was then made illegal in 1954. The hen harrier is now one of England’s rarest birds of prey.

Tony Juniper, Chairman of Natural England, said: “Despite the great progress there is though no cause for complacency. Too many birds still go missing in unexplained circumstances and I urge anyone who is still engaged in the persecution of these magnificent creatures to cease at once. Hen harriers remain critically endangered in England and there is a long way to go before the population returns to what it should be.”

Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “Twelve of the nests reported today are on land managed for grouse shooting and this reflects a genuine commitment from moor owners and managers to work with others and help rebuild the harrier population.”

This year’s success means that 141 hen harrier chicks have fledged over the past three years alone.

See Natural England here. See our previous story here.

12 Sept 2020

Last chance for Staycation Express

Staycation Express.  (Image: Rail Charter Services Ltd.)

There's still a fortnight to enjoy a first class luxury rail journey along the Settle-Carlisle line.

Whilst restrictions on rail travel were beginning to ease, a new tourist luxury daily charter service began to run on the Settle to Carlisle line.

With three daily return journeys between Skipton and Appleby, stopping at Settle only, the service began on July 20th and will finish on September 12th.

The train is made up of First-Class carriages offering spacious, well-padded seats and large windows from which passengers can view the stunning scenery. Tickets cost £39 per couple one-way.

The charter train service consists of four Mark 3 First-Class coaches (FOs) and one Mark 2 compartment brake vehicle (BFK), the latter not open for public use.  The train is hauled by two class 47 locomotives, one at either end.  The train will be operated by Locomotive Services Ltd (TOC) and promoted through Rail Charter Services Ltd and The Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company Ltd.

All services have stringent social distancing measures in place to ensure the best safety for both customers and staff on board.  With online pre-booking, individual seating areas divided by Perspex screens, and a socially divided one-way boarding and alighting system - passengers are made to feel at ease from the beginning of their journey. 

It's also a great way to enjoy the return journey for those walkers completing A Dales High Way in the next 2 weeks!

See more about the Staycation Express here.

1 Sept 2020

Glovershaw Beck path re-opens

Glovershaw Beck path repairs

The path alongside Glovershaw Beck, near the start of A Dales High Way, has been repaired using an ingenious technique and is open once again.

There was a real problem facing Bradford Council's countryside team when the path was washed away for the second time in three years following Storm Ciara in February. The steep beckside wall was scoured away by floodwater, leaving a precarious thin ledge for walkers. The council had no option but to close the path until a solution could be found.

With the steep banking clearly susceptible to further erosion, and the landowner reluctant to allow continued encroachment into their field, a really novel solution was required.

Contractors from midlands-based Geogrow Ltd. were called to help instal a deep  "green" revetment - a "Vegetated Wall System" called Rootlok - to support the path.

Rootlok is described as "a soft engineered system that is a competitive alternative to concrete, gabion and other hard revetment systems that do little to benefit the natural environment."

Permable geotextile bags filled with gravel form the lower layers, with bags containing a seeded mixture of soils, compost and sands forming the upper layers. The bags are bound together and back filled to form a stable revetment that will grass-over in time.

Further stone support has been added to the upstream side.

Bradford Countryside officer Richard Perham said "We have never used it before, but I think we will again."

The Bradford countryside team have also worked along the whole section - the path strimmed and cleared, branches trimmed, a fence and gate restored, the wire fence repaired. It's an amazing job.

See previous story here. See the Rootlok system here.

7 August 2020

Accommodation begins to re-open

Eat Out to help Out offers include the Royal Oak in Settle

Much of the accommodation along A Dales High Way is open for business once more, as restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic are eased.

But the pattern is patchy in some areas. The Friends of A Dales High Way have been checking to see what the current situation is.

Some pubs remain closed for the foreseeable future, such as both Dent pubs - the Sun Inn and the George & Dragon. Others that remain closed at this time include the Craven Heifer at Stainforth  and the Golden Lion Hotel at Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The Tufton Arms Hotel at Appleby is planning to re-open soon.

Most of the pubs and hotels that are open, along with cafes and restaurants, are offering Eat Out to Help Out discounts, so this month is a good time to visit

Youth Hostels, including those in Malham and Ingleton, are accepting  whole house bookings only at the current time, along with some B&B providers such as Bracken Hall House in Baildon and bunkbarns like Broadrake near Chapel-le-Dale. Sadly the very popular Brownber Hall at Newbiggin-on-Lune has moved to whole-house booking on a permanent basis.

Accommodation that is open may have restricted capacity.

Most campsites have re-opened, but those still closed include Moorgarth at Ingleton.

The Accommodation listing on this website includes all the B&Bs, hotels, pubs and campsites we know about along the route, but you should check with each directly as to their current availability as this is changing all the time.

If you know of any further changes, please let us know.

UPDATE: Aug 20, The George & Dragon in Dent has now re-opened.

See the Accommodation list here. Check for Eat Out to Help Out offers here.

3 August 2020

Works to repair steep footpath from Ingleborough

Descending High lot Ingleborough (photo: wfdbwgua blog)

The descent from the foot of the summit peak of Ingleborough, down to Humphrey Bottom, on the northern flank of the mountain, is a very steep, rocky climb down an engineered path.

The path, known as High Lot, is used by tens of thousands of people a year walking between Chapel le Dale and the top of the mountain – often as part of a Yorkshire Three Peaks route - as well as walkers on A Dales High Way.

High footfall, heavy rainfall, drainage issues and a steep incline has caused the existing stone pitched path, installed in the late 1980s, to slip.

The path will be closed for several months from next week (27th of July 2020) to allow repairs to be undertaken.

An alternative route will be in place. This follows the ridge edge of Simon Fell NE for 3/4 of a mile (just over 1 kilometre), before descending steeply alongside the wall.

During the past month, staff from contractors Terra Firma Environmental Ltd have picked and bagged 160 tonnes of large gritstone blocks from a nearby scree slope.  Later this week the stone will be lifted by helicopter and dropped next to the path in readiness for works to begin.

A total of 172 metres of stone pitching will be removed, with the gritstone blocks then dug deep into the ground to make a durable new 1.5 metre wide pitched path.   Associated drainage and landscaping work will also be undertaken.

Nick Cotton, Member Champion for Recreation Management at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said:  “High Lot is one of the most well used public paths in one of the finest National Nature Reserves in the country.

“It is important for people to observe the temporary closure of the path.  The High Lot section of path to be repaired is very narrow and there isn’t room for the contractors to work safely with walkers passing by.  I would ask that people walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks look up the alternative route to the summit that we are recommending, and give themselves a bit more time to complete it, as it is a steep way and not easy to use.”

Alternatively, walkers heading for Ribblehead can continue along the ridge edge of Simon fell and Park fell before descending on an easier incline to Ribblehead, as outlined in the Dales High Way Route Guide.

See more details of the temporary diversion here.

21 July 2020

Summer Newsletter

Summer Newsletter 2020 No. 7

The new Summer Newsletter from the Friends of A Dales High Way is now available.

Though things have been quiet over the last three months due to Covid-19 restrictions, there's still plenty to celebrate over the last year.

Building Bridges is the theme of an article from our Secretary Chris Grogan on the conflicting pressures on rural and urban communties following the pandemic.

There's a feature on the Top Ten Wildlife you might expect to spot on the walk, and excerpts from social media of a well-known TV celebrity who has been exploring Dales High Way country over the winter, in ALL weathers!

There's also the latest news updates and a tough Dales High Way Wordsearch to keep you entertained.

Like so many other volunteer organisations this year, the Friends' committee held their Annual General Meeting by Zoom.

But as restrictions begin to ease and the prospect of B&Bs and pubs re-opening in the near future, walkers will once again return to enjoy the wonderful landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley.

Read the Friends' summer newsletter here.

1 July 2020

Top Gear's High Way Spin

Top Gear filming at the Station Inn

A trio of supercars have been touring Dales High Way country, as the BBC filmed an episode of the TV series Top Gear this week.

On Tuesday the Station Inn at Ribblehead, a favourite with Dales High Way walkers, posted several pictures and added: "So after almost three months of isolation following closure on March 23rd today we were delighted to welcome the team Top Gear to The Station Inn who used our car park as a base whilst filming for the upcoming new series. A great bunch and a manic day for both them and their cars. The Yorkshire weather mainly held off and even the RAF popped by to take a look!!

"Hopefully we will eventually get a green light to open The Inn so everyone can enjoy this fabulous place !!"

Unfortunately Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness came a cropper shortly afterwards running his red Lamborghini Diablo off the road and into a field on the way to Hawes. Fortunately he was unhurt. The TV star wrote on Instagram he had had a "bit of a prang" but insisted things were "all nice and bonny".

Dales High Way walkers generally enjoy the countryside at a more leisurely and safer pace.

See The Station Inn Facebook page here, and the Top Gear website here.

18 June 2020

Crowds Return as Lockdown Eases

YDNPA Car park Status 30May2020

Large crowds are flocking back to Yorkshire Dales honey-spots as the government eases restrictions on the Covid-19 Lockdown rules.

The relaxation of rules comes at the end of a Spring which has proved to be the sunniest in England since records began.

The National Park Authority re-opened car parks in mid May, following the government's new guidelines on exercise and leisure, which permitted travel for any distance to walk. As expected, Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Malham in particular proved popular destinations.

On the following Bank Holiday weekend, car parks quickly filled and there were real problems with traffic at Malham.

The National Park Authority is urging travellers to check their Car Park Status Webpage in the Dales before travelling. Last Thursday Mark Sadler, Communications Manager with the National Park said "Experience of recent weekends indicates that car parks in the south of the National Park – especially Malham and Horton-in-Ribblesdale – fill up early and quickly. We would therefore recommend, in addition to regularly checking the status of car parks, that people consider using car parks and walks in other parts of the National Park. "

By Saturday afternoon, though, most of the car parks were already full (see image).

Footpaths are open for walkers, including A Dales High Way, though at the moment only for day walks. Campsites are expected to be the first accommodation sites to open in the near future. B&Bs, hotels, restaurants and pubs are likely to be the last to reopen their doors to travellers.

But it is a good time to restart planning.

See the Yorkshire Dales National Park's Car Park Status here.

1 June 2020

Ride2Stride 2021

This week would have seen the 9th annual Ride2Stride Walking and Music Festival, but Covid-19 has meant the busy programme has been put back to 2021.

This week-long free festival of walks, talks and music covering Dales High Way country using stations along the line of the world-famous Settle-Carlisle railway has proved to be incredibly popular, attracting participants from across the country and the globe!

One of the special features of this years' programme was the inclusion of a complete long distance trail for the first time - the Six Peaks Trail was to be covered on four consecutive days.

This challenging 48-mile hike takes in 6 major peaks, including the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside, along with Great Knoutberry, Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell. With a total ascent of over 3 kilometres, this is not for the faint-hearted.

The first day from Settle to Horton on Wednesday would have taken in Pen-y-ghent. Thursday would have been especially tough taking in both Ingleborough and Whernside to finish at Ribblehead. Today was to have crossed Blea Moor and over Great Knoutberry to finish in Garsdale. Tomorrow would have seen the final leg crossing Swarth Fell and the magnificent Wild Boar Fell before dropping to Kirkby-Stephen.

Each leg would offer the comfort of a pub to finish and music from some of the best session musicians in the region. Anyone completing all four legs would have received a special certificate of achievement.

Alas, this year we can only dream, but why not join Bridget and David on their video diary of day 3 filmed in 2016 (above), and enjoy.

See you all next year hopefully!

See Ride2Stride here, the Six Peaks Trail here, and Dales Rail Trails here.

1 May 2020

Rights of Way remain open to locals

Covid-19 and rights of way

Public footpaths will remain open for local walkers, in order to exercise safely during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

A Dales High Way is closed to long-distance walkers for the time-being, but sections remain open to locals who live along the route.

Last week the Yorkshire Dales National park Authority spelt out clearly its position on public footpaths in the area. In a published statement, Mark Sadler, Communications Manager with the YDNPA, said: "We have received concerns from some members of the public about rights of way remaining open at the present time.

"At present we believe public rights of way in the Yorkshire Dales National Park provide an opportunity for local people to take exercise, physical and spiritual, and get some fresh air in these difficult times. These paths should not be blocked or obstructed.

"It is also important to stress that people should not be making special journeys to access them. Travel to exercise is NOT essential travel and people should not be travelling to do their daily exercise."

There was major concern at the number of people driving up to Malham and other areas a fortnight ago.

The statement continues "Where rights of way pass close to, or through residential and agricultural properties, it is important that the existing Government advice regarding social distancing and hand washing is adhered to."

Nick Cotton, Member Champion for recreation management said: “Walking or cycling in the Yorkshire Dales, carried out responsibly, with social distancing from other people, is an excellent way to maintain our physical and mental health. These are both vital components in keeping our strength and maintaining our spirits through the Covid-19 crisis. The days are getting longer and we should channel the energy of springtime to help us face the future with positive feelings of rebirth and renewal”

See the full statement here.

3 April 2020

Dales Events fall to Coronavirus

Three Peaks Fell Race

Outdoor events in Dales High Way country have been postponed or cancelled due to the spread of Coronavirus.

With infections expected to peak in May, some events have been pushed back to late summer, by which time it is hoped the pandemic will have run its course.

The annual Three Peaks Fell Race which was due to be held on the 25th April this year, has been rescheduled for Saturday 26th September.

Organisers said "Our main concern over the infection risk was the start and finish area where we have upwards of 1,200 people in the marquee used for registration and the prize giving.

"Our decision should make it easier for people to plan other events and avoid unnecessary travelling. The revised date of 26th September 26 will be confirmed as soon as possible. We are working with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to avoid clashes with other events planned for that weekend."

The 58th Fellsman Race, due to be held also on the 25th and 26th April, has been cancelled completely. The 61-mile route starts in Ingleton, crossing Ingleborough and Whernside before passing through Dentdale and on into Wherfedale to finish at Threshfield. Around 400 runners participate.

Organisers said " This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we are aware that many will be bitterly disappointed. We wished to make the decision ourselves, before it could be made for us."

The Punk Panther Ultra-marathon race along A Dales High Way, originally scheduled for Saturday May 9 - 10, involving up to 200 runners, has closed to entrants until further notice.

HF Holidays have closed their country houses until at least the end of April, which will mean that their planned Dales High Way Walking Holiday for that month will have to be re-scheduled or cancelled altogether.

All pubs and cafes along the route have now closed and great efforts are being made by Walking Holiday providers and B&B's to rearrange any planned bookings.

The 2020 Ride2Stride Walking Festival has been cancelled for this year, though dates for next year have been confirmed. Guided walks by the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL), Friends of Dale Rails (FDR) and the Ramblers have all been postponed until after the current crisis.

Original article UPDATED: 21 March 2020.

See the Three Peaks Fell Race website here, the Fellsman site here, and the Punk Panther site here.

14 March 2020

New edition of Route Guide

A Dales High Way Route Guide - Third Edition

The third edition of A Dales High Way Route Guide is now available.

Fully updated, the slim book is specially designed for use as the primary route guide for the walk.

The route is set out in a series of detailed strip maps at a scale of 1:25,000. The book is robust, pocket-sized and the detailed route maps carry instructions ON the maps themselves. Each copy comes in an optional but handy, weather resistant plastic wallet.

Colin Speakman, well known author and fell walker and chairman of the Dales Way Association said: “It is a particularly lovely route and because it is at a higher level to the Dales Way, offers a different kind of experience.  It is also offers a marvellous introduction to the extended Yorkshire Dales and Westmorland Fells National Park."

A Dales High Way is entering its twelfth year as a long distance trail, and is proving increasingly popular with walkers looking for an adventurous and challenging route.

This May it is to host an ultra-marathon race for up to 200 runners, who have to complete the 90-mile route in under 36 hours. The event is being organised by Punk Panther.

A Dales High Way Route Guide (Third Edition). ISBN: 978-1-911321-06-4 (Skyware Ltd) Feb 2020. £8.99

See more on A Dales High Way Route Guide Third Edition here. See the Punk Panther Ultra Marathons here.

1 Mar 2020

Storms batter Dales High Way Country

Flood damage at Glovershaw Beck

Just as the flooding from Storm Ciara begins to subside, more flooding is likely on its way with Storm Dennis.

Many areas along the route of A Dales High Way have been affected, with flash flooding in Appleby, Dent and Saltaire. River levels have now dropped, but many paths remain muddy and waterlogged.

Over 100mm of rain fell in an 18 hour period on Sunday - one month's worth in a single day. Many trains were cancelled, including those on the Settle-Carlisle line. Storm Dennis is expected to bring high winds and about 80mm more rain this weekend, but with rivers already high and the ground waterlogged, more flooding seems inevitable.

High waters in Glovershaw Beck, near the start of A Dales High Way, have swept away revetments and parts of the path that were only repaired after flooding in 2017. At the moment the path is still passable with care, but that may change soon. Walkers along this part of the route are advised to consider alternatives.

Chris Grogan of the Friends of A Dales High Way said "Though we believe the trail as a whole is still open, at this time it is probably best to avoid some of the low level, farmland paths which have been flooded. They are likely to be very muddy. And, of course, higher level sections should not be tackled in high winds and heavy rain. Please check in advance and take care out there."

The worst affected paths are in the lower, arable areas of the trail. Walkers should be aware of potential problems - Grotspots - and the options before setting off on the trail.

UPDATE: 2 Mar 2020 - This section of path is now subject to a temporary closure notice by Bradford Council, until repairs can be made. Please use the suggested alternatives until further notice.

See suggested alternatives to Glovershaw Beck here. See our previous post here. Check out the Grotspots here.

14 Feb 2020

£1.2 million for Skipton High Street

Skipton High Street

Skipton has scooped over £1.2 million of government funding to boost its Skipton High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) initiative.

The money from Historic England is part of a £95 million pot to revitalise the nation's high streets.

Craven County Council will oversee the project. Its Policy committee members were told the overarching theme of the Skipton HAZ was to "start the process of changing the profile of users of Skipton town centre towards a greater focus on young people and families" and make it more walking and cycle friendly.

A breakdown of the grant shows £258,480 spent on a performance venue at the town hall, £150,000 on Coach Street public square and improving its accessibility, £35,000 on ginnels (making safe routes linking the high street to secondary retail areas and which are currently unlit, litter-strewn and have uneven surfaces), £85,000 on creating youth markets on the setts and £600,000 on an Otley Street Arts House.

Pedestrianising some areas and encouraging more accommodation in the high street was also suggested at the Policy committee meeting.

The programme is spread over four years and Heritage England have made it clear they want the design to cover four threads - community engagement, physical intervention, conservation and heritage and a cultural programme.

Skipton is a popular overnight stop for walkers on A Dales High Way. Skipton High Street was voted "Best in Britain" in 2009 by the Academy for Urbanism and the town itself was deemed the "best place to live in the UK" by the Sunday Times in 2014.

See our previous story here.

1 Feb 2020

Dales Rail Trails 2020

Dales Rail Trails Edition 2

Walkers can enjoy exploring Dales High Way country at their leisure with the help of a brand new edition of Dales Rail Trails which is published this month.

The new edition features 32 walks from stations along the world-famous Leeds-Settle-Carlisle railway - 18 circular walks of between 6 and 12 miles long, with an additional 14 linear walks linking stations along the line. Each route has detailed large-scale mapping at a scale of 1:25,000, with descriptive notes and full colour photographs. Each route has been re-surveyed to bring it bang up-to-date.

Chris Grogan, co-author of the guidebook, said "This is our favourite walking country and we loved every minute of the work producing this book. We worked with fellow walk leaders from the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL) to check the routes, and we continue to help lead many of the routes as part of FoSCL's free led-walks programme."

The book also includes details of 2 long distance trails: the very popular 24-mile Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge Route and the altogether tougher 48-mile Six Peaks Trail.

Publication of the first edition in 2011 inspired the creation of the Ride2Stride Walking Festival, which continues to go from strength to strength. This year's Festival will include four FoSCL led walks on consecutive days covering the whole Six Peaks Trail - a tough challenge indeed!

Dales Rail Trails, by Tony & Chris Grogan, costs £9.99 and is available online from Skyware Press, or from the FoSCL shop at Settle station.

See more of Dales Rail Trails here, the FoSCL Guided Walks programme here, and Ride2Stride here.

15 Jan 2020

Farmland to woodland

Trees planted alongside the River Ribble near Stainforth Force - Ribble Trust

The upland landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales are likely to change dramatically in the future, if suggested moves are taken to tackle the climate crisis.

The former chief scientific advisor to the government, Prof Sir Ian Boyd, has called for half the UK farmland to be switched from farmland to woodland, mostly in upland areas which are unsuitable for growing crops. He said such a change would see cattle and sheep production fall by up to 90%, with subsidies used instead for storing carbon.

"It would be much better to store carbon and water, grow trees and make land available for people to improve their health" he said.

Tree planting along riverbanks and feeder streams, such as the River Ribble, is already being employed to help reduce flooding. Restoration of blanket bogs on moorland such as Rombalds Moor is also being actively promoted.

In May a report from Rewilding Britain called for 25% of the nation to be returned to natural habitat.

Surprisingly, Brexit might prove a catalyst for change. The current EU system pays farmers grants according to the amount of land they own. The government plans to shift farm subsidies towards what it calls "public money for public goods" - a principle supported by Rewilding Britain.

Photo shows tree planting along the Ribble near Stainforth, courtesy of the Ribble Trust.

See Rewilding Britain here.

1 Jan 2020

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