Far Moor Bridge. Photo: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Far Moor Bridge. Photo: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

A bridge carrying a bridleway over a river has been highly commended for its outstanding design.

The structure, which carries the Pennine Bridleway over the River Ribble in the Yorkshire Dales, is said by contractors to be the longest of its kind in the world.

The three-arch bridge is 53m long and was designed by the Forestry Commission’s civil engineering design team near Edinburgh. Far Moor Bridge, near Selside in Ribblesdale, was highly commended in the Wood Awards which aim to promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation in wood and are sponsored by most of the UK’s leading organisations involved in wood marketing and education.

It has also been shortlisted in the British Construction Industry 2011 awards small civil engineering project – up to £3m category.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Pennine Bridleway project officer Peter Lambert said: “It’s great for the project to get this recognition at a national level in the Wood Awards, which are the top awards in the timber industry and we are very pleased with a highly commended result.

“And we are keeping our fingers crossed for the BCI awards.”

Work began in July last year on the timber bridge and on a new path that forms part of a new bridleway from the B6479 road near the village to an existing track at Dalemire Barn and the Cam Road – a length of about 2.5km (1½ miles).

Malcolm Petyt, the YDNPA’s member champion for recreational management, said: “This must be one of the largest bridges built in recent years for non-motorised traffic. It is a splendid structure that gives horse-riders, bikers and walkers a super route across upper Ribblesdale and deserves to take this award.”

Anna Righton, Natural England Pennine Bridleway project manager, added: “We are delighted that this stunning new bridge has been recognised for its design. It fits so well in the Yorkshire Dales landscape and will be admired by future generations using the route.

“It completes another link in the new [322km] (200-mile) Pennine Bridleway national trail, which will open permanently next year for horse riders, cyclists and walkers, who will be able to enjoy an area that was previously inaccessible.”

The winners for each category in the BCI Awards will be announced at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 12 October.