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

£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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