Yorkshire Dales authorities say they hope to have the whole section of a new national trail in their area complete by 2009.
The Pennine Bridleway will run from the Derbyshire Peak District to Byrness in Northumberland. 52 miles of the route pass through the Yorkshire Dales National Park. 70 per cent of the route can now be used, thanks to the co-operation of landowners and farmers whose land the trail passes through.
The bridleway includes the Settle Loop, opened two years ago, and is intended eventually to allow walkers, cyclists and horse riders to cover the whole 560km (350 miles) and is being opened in chunks as funding allows. Work on the route in the Dales has ranged from improving some existing stretches of public rights of way to creating new ones.
Gareth Evans, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Pennine Bridleway project officer, said: “The farmers and landowners have played a vital role in enabling us to open up the trail through the National Park.
“We would not be able to do it without their involvement and co-operation and we are very grateful for their continued support.”
In 1986, Lady Mary Towneley rode from Derbyshire to Northumberland to highlight the state of the country’s bridleways and support the need for the Pennine Bridleway National Trail. A circular route, the Mary Towneley Loop, includes Hebden Bridge and Todmorden and forms part of the 130 miles of the route already open to the public.