The route of the former railway on the approach to Hawes. Photo: YDNPA

The route of the former railway on the approach to Hawes. Photo: YDNPA

Members of the public have emphatically backed the idea of creating an accessible leisure route in the Yorkshire Dales.

Almost four out of five of respondents to a survey were in favour of a new family-friendly, wheelchair-accessible route between the town of Hawes and Garsdale Station on the Settle-Carlisle Railway.

The path would use the trackbed of a railway in upper Wensleydale that closed more than 60 years ago. Currently there is no public access along the former branch line between Hawes and Garsdale.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which commissioned the online survey, said only 19 per cent of respondents wanted the route protected from any development. A total of 2,261 individual responses were received.

Authority members approved the principle of creating a Hawes-Garsdale multi-user route at its March quarterly meeting and asked for views from the public.

The full results will be presented at the next authority meeting, on Tuesday 28 June, when members will decide whether to formally back the proposal.

Authority chair Neil Heseltine said: “This is one of the most engaged surveys the authority has undertaken in recent years, and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to take part.

“Support from local people for a Hawes-Garsdale bridleway is particularly strong. Overall, 77 per cent of respondents supported the proposal, but among those who described themselves as living and/or working or owning a business in the national park, support rose to 82 per cent.

“That is owing to a desire to create a safe place for children to cycle or go horse riding away from the main road, a need for a direct, car- and motorcycle-free route between Hawes and Garsdale Station, and a need to support economic development, which the route would likely stimulate.

“The former railway is a monument to Victorian engineering, but at the moment it is a largely wasted, and deteriorating, asset. If members decide later this month to confirm their support for a Hawes-Garsdale multi-user route, then the authority would approach potential project partners to discuss a way ahead.”

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Yorkshire Dales bosses seek views on using disused Wensleydale track as bridleway
  2. Ranger follows family tradition with bridleway bridge
  3. Way of the Roses cycle route will link rival counties
  4. Government plans for changes on barn rules ‘disastrous’ for Dales