Work progresses on the bridge. Photo: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Work progresses on the bridge. Photo: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

A national park ranger followed in a family tradition to help bridge a moorland beck that barred the way for walkers, horse riders and cyclists.

Michael Briggs’s great grandfather built the New Bridge in Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales, so it was fitting the ranger helped with the bridge on a bridleway at Mossdale, between Wharfedale and Nidderdale.

Heavy rainfall regularly made the beck, on Conistone Moor, impassable but a partnership between the national park authority and the Kettelshiel Estate saw the beck bridged.

Mr Briggs, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s area ranger for Upper Wharfedale, said: “It’s not very often we get to build an entirely new bridge on the rights of way network, so I’ve been really keen to see this project through. It will provide access for people who had been turned back in the past when the beck was high.

The completed bridge over Mossdale Beck. Photo: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

The completed bridge over Mossdale Beck. Photo: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

“This bridge has been a year in the making – there have been so many people to work with and several potential problems. My great granddad built the New Bridge in Kettlewell so I also have a bit of family pride invested too.”

Local companies were used for the design and build of the bridge, and national park rangers and Dales Volunteers helped with the work to keep costs down. It was build in kit form then transported to the site, 430m (1,411ft) up on the moors south of Great Whernside.

Local representatives of the British Horse Society were also consulted on the design of the bridge.

Dr Malcolm Petyt, the authority’s member champion for recreation management, said: “It will be interesting to see how involved we can become in these types of projects in the future and, indeed, with general enhancements to the public rights of way network as a whole.

“These are truly challenging times for us and all public sector bodies. The public footpaths and bridleways of the Dales are so important in allowing people to experience the special qualities of the national park and the local economy. This project shows what can be done if everyone is prepared to join in.”

The national park authority maintains river crossings on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council.

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