Farmer John Sedgewick with the footbridge in the backgroundWalkers on the Yorkshire Three Peaks route have a slight change of route.

A new bridge has been built over a beck to avoid having to go through the farmyard at Nether Lodge Farm.

Farmer John Sedgewick (right) with the footbridge in the background

A footpath diversion is now in place after no objections were raised to the alternative skirting the farm. Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) contractors built the footbridge out of oak and larch to blend in with the surrounding scenery. A spokesman for the YDNPA said the authority funded the £22,000 cost of the new bridge and footpath diversion because it was in the public interest.

The new route will avoid John Sedgewick’s farmyard which, during busy weekends, saw up to 2,000 walkers passing through. Mr Sedgewick has created a track to link with the bridge.

Steve Hastie, the YDNPA area ranger for Ribblesdale, said: “Several public footpaths converge at Nether Lodge – three from the north and two from the south and one goes through the farmyard and is part of the popular Three Peaks route, as well as carrying the well-used ‘Ribble Way’ trail. 

“As a result, the footpath was exceptionally well used and large numbers of people went through the yard throughout the year, particularly at weekends. In fact, there were regular sponsored walks with up to 500 people using the route throughout the spring and summer and the Three Peaks fell race also used the route every year with up to 550 competitors passing through the yard.

“The public footpath [was] diverted out of the farmyard to the north of the farm on to a route giving more open views across moorland and pasture to the northeast and producing a route that is easier to follow as well as safer and more pleasant.”

Mr Sedgewick said; “Having the diversion over the new footbridge gives us the freedom to go about our business.

“Before, we couldn’t work with the sheep in the yard on Saturdays and Sundays – there could be up to 2,000 walkers coming through on a summer’s weekend.”

Nether Lodge Farm stands on the section of the Three Peaks route between Pen-y-ghent and Ribblehead.