England’s third-longest national trail was officially opened today by actor Martin Clunes.
The television star cut a ribbon at Far Moor Bridge near Selside in the Yorkshire Dales to mark the opening of the Pennine Bridleway.
The 330km (205-mile) route runs from Middleton Top in Derbyshire to Street, near Ravenstonedale in Cumbria, and has been specifically designed for horse riders, but is also tailored to mountain bikers and walkers.
Mr Clunes is president of the British Horse Society.
The £10m Pennine Bridleway passes through the Peak District, South Pennines and Yorkshire Dales on its route to the finishing point near Kirkby Stephen.
Natural England, the Government’s advisory body on the outdoors, has mostly funded the work, with a contribution of £1.8m coming from Sport England.
Natural England has signed 140 agreements with landowners, creating new bridleways on land where no previous access existed, and has also upgraded footpaths to bridleways. 105km of new bridleway was established.
BHS chief executive Graham Cory said: “The fact that riders, cyclists and walkers will all be able to use this excellent new facility lends weight to the society’s long held view, strongly supported by [Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] minister Richard Benyon, that the best value for the greatest number is achieved when all off-road routes are open to all non-motorised, vulnerable users.”
Natural England chair Poul Christensen said: “We are delighted to have completed the Pennine Bridleway route which provides outstanding opportunities to enjoy some of England’s finest countryside and is a fantastic asset for tourism in the North of England.
“This has been a genuine joint effort and we are grateful to all partners in the Pennine Bridleway and to all the landowners who’ve helped make this possible.”