The trust wants to restore the Smardalegill Viaduct to enable public access again

The trust wants to restore the Smardalegill Viaduct to enable public access again

A new scheme has provided cash to help a charity restore public access to a viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales national park.

The Love Your Landscape fund has donated £5,000 towards work needed on Smardalegill Viaduct in the Westmorland Dales.

The structure needs repairs to its stonework and handrails to enable the public to cross it again. The Northern Viaduct Trust said its priority is to reopen the route as soon as possible. It had to close access to the permissive path across the viaduct when the railings were deemed unsafe.

The grade-two listed limestone structure was built to carry the South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway between Kirkby Stephen and Tebay in Cumbria, which was closed in 1962. It lies close to the route of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk.

Smardale lies in the area added to the Yorkshire Dales national park in 2016 when both it and the Lake District had additional areas incorporated.

The Love Your Landscape grant scheme was created by the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme, itself funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to fund small-scale projects and works that help to connect people with the landscape or to conserve and enhance it.

David Evans, Westmorland Dales scheme manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the repair of this viaduct via our Love Your Landscape grant scheme and support the committed group of volunteers at the Northern Viaduct Trust.

“Our hope is that our award will encourage other funders and the general public to support the NVT’s fundraising campaign and restore access across this remarkable structure as soon as possible.

“Our grant scheme is being made available to charities, voluntary and community groups, schools and other organisations in the Westmorland Dales area and I’d encourage anybody with small projects or works in mind to get in touch to see if we can help them too”.

The viaduct lies close to the route of the Coast to Coast Walk

The viaduct lies close to the route of the Coast to Coast Walk

Neil Cleeveley, chair of Northern Viaduct Trust said: “We were delighted to receive support from the Love Your Landscape grant scheme. It has provided a great boost to the trust and to our fundraising campaign but we still have a long way to go.

“Our priority is to re-open the viaduct to the public as soon as possible. We want to enable access to the environment around Smardalegill Viaduct for more people, particularly those with restricted mobility, by providing an accessible means of exploring the area, including Smardale nature reserve.

“We’re a small charity with no regular income, and this is a massive undertaking for us. We will obviously be looking at some of the big heritage funders, but public support will be critical if we are to restore access to this magnificent viaduct.

“This is why we have launched our fundraising campaign and any amount that people are able to contribute via our website will be most welcome.”

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership comprises the Friends of the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Natural England, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Cumbria County Council, the Woodland Trust, Cumbria Geoconservation, Eden District Council, the Lunesdale Archaeological Society, the Farmer Network, Eden Rivers Trust, the Country Land and Business Association, the National Farmers Union, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and Electricity North West.

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