Author Archives: DWA

Lifetime award for Dales Way creator

Colin receives his award

Colin Speakman won the Golden Eagle award for Outstanding Services to the Outdoors at the meeting of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild this weekend.

Colin is a prolific writer, environmentalist, academic and broadcaster. He was presented with a specially commissioned painting of Pen-y-ghent by the artist and environmentalist, David Bellamy.

A co-creator of the Dales Way, now 50 years old and one of the most popular long distance paths in the country, Colin has written nearly 60 books, covering walking and history, transport guides, biographies, poems and fiction. He has recently been described as one of 20 of Britain’s all-time “Walking Heroes”.

His recent publication was a biography of John Phillips, the influential 19th-century Yorkshire scientist who completed the first detailed geological surveys of the Yorkshire Coast and the Yorkshire Dales and who helped establish the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

His new book Yorkshire: Ancient Nation, Future Province* will be launched at a special event at Bradford university next month.

DALES WAY REOPENS TO WELCOME WALKERS

Colin Speakman (left) joins the group at the start in Ilkley, Monday May 17.

Ramblers throughout Yorkshire are delighted to be welcomed back to the Yorkshire Dales, especially now that inns and guest houses can welcome walkers along the 81-mile Dales Way.

The Dales Way footpath, linking Ilkley in Wharfedale with Bowness on Lake Windermere, has long been one of Britain’s favourite walks, attracting many repeat visits and also visitors from overseas. Sadly, the pandemic had virtually closed much of the route for staying visitors since autumn 2020, but now that hotels and guest houses are open, walkers can once again enjoy a wonderful short break along the magnificent scenery of the Dales Way.

The first group to do so was a group of ten people from the Leeds-Bradford area who set off from Ilkley on Monday May 17th the first day guest houses were open and arrived in Bowness on Saturday. Members of the group, all “empty nesters”, people of a certain age whose teenage children had left home allowing their parents new freedom, had planned the walk and booked their accommodation months ahead.

Tim Barber, from Burley-in-Wharfedale, leader of the group commented: “Everything was great and the welcome from all the accommodation providers was wonderful – they were so happy to be back doing what they do best, providing a great warm welcome”.

Colin Speakman, Chairman of the Dales Way Association added “We are so pleased that walkers are coming back as staying visitors to the Dales. Spending up to £100 per day on food and accommodation, Dales Way walkers will provide a significant boost to the Dales economy, helping struggling catering and other rural businesses to survive after what has been a dreadful 16 months of pandemic.”

However, he also warned would-be walkers to book accommodation in advance, especially evening meals, as demand in this summer of staycations is likely to be high, and there could be some pubs and cafes that don’t reopen because of the impact of the long lockdowns.

Further diversion near Sedbergh

The diversion follows the path on the right

Another short diversion is in place near Sedbergh as further work is needed to make safe a path eroded by river flooding.

The short section of footpath is to be found beyond where the Dales Way crosses the road bridge from Millthrop across the River Rawthey, then turns left across a field and through a section of woodland (SD 6585 9135). The affected section is the part where the path passes through a narrow, enclosed dip. Similar work took place here last summer.

An alternative, easy to follow section of permissive path leads off to the right just before this point, to rejoin the main footpath just before leaving the wooded area.

The work is expected to continue throughout the summer.

Britain’s 10 best scenic spots for runners

The Dales Way features in another top list – this time in the Financial Times’ Top 10 scenic spots for runners in Britain.

Fergus Scholes writes “What better way to enjoy a run than in breathtaking British countryside, traversing its long-distance footpaths and National Trails? We’ve rounded up the best scenic spots to put you through your paces.”

See the full FT article here.

Selina Scott on the Dales Way

Selina Scott at Linton Falls

TV presenter Selina Scott walking a section of the Dales Way in Wharfedale was shown on BBC TV last night.

It’s part of a series of Winter Walks with celebrity walkers being shown on successive nights. They can be watched again on BBC iPlayer.

Selina sets off from Thorp to walk up to Linton Falls, then joins the Dales Way to walk from Grassington to Appletreewick. It was filmed in February 2020 before Covid restrictions were introduced.

Filming herself and all that is around her on a 360-degree camera, Selina wanders through the countryside, often deep in thought and stopping only to chat, recite poetry and reflect.

Along the way, she learns of extraordinary philanthropy, meets walkers and a fisherman, and ends her journey drinking local ale in a pub famed for ferret racing.

See it on BBC iPlayer here

New Information Board at Barden Bridge

The new information board at Barden Bridge

A new Dales Way Information Board has just been installed at Barden Bridge, after the old frame of the previous one finally rotted away.

The new frame was constructed at the National Park’s Maintenance shop in Grassington, fitted with the last of our new Information Boards and installed by National Park rangers. The frame is made of Accoya acetylated wood, sustainably sourced with FSC® certification and it has minimal environmental impact throughout its entire life.

The £675 cost of construction was covered by a donation from the Dales Way Association. This is one of 9 Information boards along the route of the Dales Way.

The boards first appeared in 2004 thanks to hard work by DWA members Margaret and Ken Staines. The sketch drawings are by Patricia Hickman.

Hebden Suspension bridge closed

Hebden Suspension Bridge

Hebden Suspension Bridge has had to be closed following damage due to the recent flash floods.

A spokesperson for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: “There’s been some damage to Hebden suspension bridge following the heavy rains. Unfortunately we have had to close the bridge while we look into repairs. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

In 2014 the bridge was redecked thanks to a generous donation by DWA member Eileen King, in memory of her partner Roy.

UPDATE 21 Nov 2020: The bridge has been repaired and is now open again.

Virtual AGM for Dales Way Association

AGM 2014

The 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Dales Way Association, originally scheduled for November the 14th, has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, a “virtual” meeting will take its place, with members voting by email.

The Autumn e-newsletter is currently being distributed to all members. It includes all the reports normally given at the AGM meeting. The Association accounts are being sent out at the same time. Members are encouraged to respond to the standard motions by return email.

Association Secretary Chris Grogan said “Sadly it is not going to be possible to hold a face to face AGM this year. The AGM is more than just a formal meeting. It is the chance to walk and talk together and enjoy the social aspect of the day. We shall miss it very much this year.

“We look forward to seeing everyone in 2021.”

Bolton Abbey Estate and the Dales Way

As a precaution to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Bolton Abbey Estate has introduced restrictions to visitors. Day visitors are now required to book tickets online in advance at a cost of £10 for a group of up to 8. This is to control numbers exploring the estate grounds and using the facilities, including cafes and toilets.

This applies to visitors arriving by car, public transport OR on foot. But, as we understand, this does NOT affect walkers on the Dales Way.

Dales Way walkers are advised to arrive along the trail from south or north, to stick to the track and pass directly through the estate. A one-way system is in place, which will not affect walkers from south to north, but will affect walkers from north to south. Walkers should stick to the one-way system.

The problem arises because part of the Dales Way footpath through the estate follows permissive paths, which are not rights of way.

We are currently awaiting further clarification.

Path repairs at Hubberholme

Upper Wharfedale Ranger Rob Wilson and his hardy team of volunteers have just finished path repairs and resurfacing to a stretch of the Dales Way footpath at Hubberholme.

Rob Wilson and his volunteers resurfacing the path at Hubberholme

The path, which runs along a steep bank above the river, has suffered erosion through a combination of heavy rain and cattle grazing. Rob has had his work cut out, with some difficult revetment work on the path. Some preparatory work was undertaken in 2019.

The £600 cost of resurfacing materials for the section has been met by a generous donation from long-term DWA member Philippa Hudson, who lives nearby at Beckermonds.

The team expect to do further strengthening work to the path section in the near future.