Craig Grimes tries out the new path at Grimwith. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

Craig Grimes tries out the new path at Grimwith. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

Disabled outdoor enthusiasts can now enjoy a trip round a Yorkshire Dales reservoir thanks to footpath improvements.

A 700m section of footpath has been upgraded at Grimwith Reservoir, meaning people with limited mobility can now make a complete circuit of the expanse of water, one of the largest in the national park.

The work was carried out by the national park authority in partnership with Yorkshire Water, who funded the project, with additional funding from the British Mountaineering Council’s Access and Conservation Trust.

Phil Richards, the national park authority’s area ranger for Wharfedale and Littondale, said: “There has been a route around the reservoir for walkers for many years and it is all on good paths and tracks apart from this ‘missing link’.

“This section was on a poor path that was often wet and muddy, with steep areas that were difficult to use. The good news is that the missing link section has now been completely transformed, with a new path created that is wide, easy to use and with a firm surface.

“The walk around the reservoir provides lots of interest as well as great views. There is the cruck barn, which was preserved when the reservoir expanded, Grimwith House, and the remains of Gate Up, a hamlet which was sacrificed for the reservoir. The shoreline is also home to a large number of migrating birds and there are waders, geese and ducks to be seen.”

The 'missing link' at Grimwith before it was improved. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

The 'missing link' at Grimwith before it was improved. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

The new section was given a thumbs up by wheelchair user Craig Grimes, who is director of Huddersfield-based not-for-profit Community Interest Company Experience Community, which provides films and information about walks and other leisure activities for wheelchair users and the wider community.

“When I first came to Grimwith for a look it was frustrating to get so far round and then have to turn back,” he said.

“I have now acted as a ‘guinea pig’ for the new section of path and it’s superb. This will never be an easy wheelchair walk but using my mountain trike I could get all the way round.”

Nick Cotton, the YDNPA’s member champion for recreation management, said: “Grimwith is a fantastic site set high in the Yorkshire Dales and surrounded by heather moorland. Providing the opportunity for more people to be able to do this lovely walk round the reservoir is something we have wanted to do for many years.

“The national park authority has been steadily opening up more of the rights of way network so that it is easier to use for people who are less mobile, and this is a fantastic example of this work.”

Alastair Harvey, recreation advisor at Yorkshire Water which owns the reservoir, said: “We welcome all visitors to our land and we’re delighted this missing link of path around Grimwith Reservoir will improve access for everyone.

“We’re very pleased that disabled visitors and those with limited mobility can now enjoy this beautiful walk around our reservoir in full.”

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