Appersett Viaduct, part of the Hawes to Garsdale line. Photo: YDNPA

Appersett Viaduct, part of the Hawes to Garsdale line. Photo: YDNPA

National park bosses are seeking views on setting up a family-friendly bridleway in upper Wensleydale.

The route would use a disused railway line and would run between Hawes and Garsdale station, including Appersett Viaduct.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority want to gauge the level of public support for the project. Members agreed in principle to the creation of the bridleway at a meeting on Tuesday, but asked for a survey to be undertaken.

The decision was taken as there was no immediate prospect of reinstating a railway route. The heritage Wensleydale Railway currently runs from Northallerton to Redmire, 16km (10 miles) east of Hawes. Garsdale Head, at the western end of the proposed bridleway, is on the Settle and Carlisle Railway, one of England’s most scenic mainline routes.

Authority chair Neil Heseltine said: “It’s important the public now have their say, and we have launched an online survey to collect those views.

“We have the chance to provide a safe, user-friendly environment for local people and visitors to experience cycling and horse riding away from a busy, dangerous road network, and to develop upper Wensleydale as a cycle hub by bringing this major capital investment to the area.

“The question isn’t whether we can develop this family-friendly route or reinstate the railway – sadly, little progress has been made on the latter over 40 years. The question is whether we should take the opportunity to develop an accessible bridleway or continue to protect the line of the former railway in the hope that, at some future date, someone will have the means to develop a line between Hawes and Garsdale.”

The online survey will be open until Friday 22 April.

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