Author Archives: DWA

The First Dales Way Walk

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Colin Speakman leads the 40th anniversary walk – 2009

On Monday, March 10th, 1969, the Yorkshire Evening Post carried a major news feature outlining “A new Dales Way …. from Ilkley to Lakeland“.

The article began: “Leeds, Harrogate and Bradford may soon by linked to the Lake District by footpath. It is all part of a projected new Dales Way mapped out by the West Riding branch of the Ramblers Association.

“If you are interested, if you have a longing for fresh air after this long dark winter of discontent, now is the time to polish your best walking boots and get out your rucksack.

“You can become involved in this wonderful scheme by presenting yourself at Ilkley Post Office on Sunday March 23, at 10.15 a.m. On that day members of the Ramblers Association are to walk along the first 10 miles of the new Dales Way from Ilkley to Burnsall, and members of the public are invited to take part.”

That cold March Sunday, over 130 people gathered to take part in the first ever public walk along a section of the Dales Way. Colin Speakman led them for the 12-mile trek to Burnsall, where they caught pre-arranged buses back to Ilkley. It was a huge success.

That inaugural walk has been celebrated every decade since. In 2019 the 50th anniversary of that first walk will take place on Saturday, 3rd August.

You can read the full account of that First Dales Way walk here.

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Alcohol licence for Olicana caravan site

Bradford Council have approved contentious plans to serve alcohol at Olicana Park caravan site, near Addingham.

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The Dales Way passes through the site, passing the restaurant and cafe based in a new log cabin at the entrance to the site.

Approval for a cafe there had been previously granted in 2016. The new licence allows alcohol to be served for consumption on and off the site. The owners, Listers Leisure Ltd., said the business would serve onsite customers and people walking the Yorkshire Dales.

Letters both against and in support of the scheme were evenly matched. Some local residents raised concerns that serving alcohol could lead to an increase in traffic, noise and anti-social behaviour in a picturesque area fo the district. One park resident pointed out that “It is very rare these days to go out for a meal and not have a drink.”

Dales Way walkers might welcome a cafe stop after the first 3 miles on the trail, but it remains to be seen how many will want alcoholic refreshments so early on.

Honorary Life Membership for Alex

Alex McManus, former Footpaths officer for the Dales Way Association who retired from active duty earlier this year, was formally handed his “Honorary Life Membership” certificate today.

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Alex McManus receives his award from Colin Speakman

The presentation was made by the chairman of the Dales Way Association, Colin Speakman, at a special lunch attended by most of the DWA committee near Harrogate. The honour was unanimously approved at this year’s Annual General Meeting in October.

Colin said: “Alex is one of the heroes of the Dales Way. For so many years he has been our tireless Footpath Secretary, doing great work working with all the local authorities along the Dales Way to ensure that stiles, gates and bridges were in good order, waymarks were in the right place and problems sorted as soon as possible, not to mention his work as a great ambassador for the route, in person and on his DVDs. In making him only our second Honorary Life Member in our history (the first was the legendary cartographer Arthur Gemmell) the Dales Way Committee is merely recognising his outstanding achievement over so many years”

Alex first joined the DWA committee in 2003 and became Footpaths Officer in 2005. He also served as Newsletter Editor from 2010 to 2014 and turned his hand to a number of other roles, including minutes secretary for a while.

Alex will continue to contribute to the DWA through articles on the website and Newsletters. We hope to see him at a number of next year’s 50th Anniversary events.

Addingham suspension bridge closed

A popular suspension bridge which crosses the river Wharfe beside the Dales Way at Addingham has been closed for up to 6 months.

addingham suspension bridge

The bridge is not on the route of the Dales Way, which passes just above it, so its closure will not affect Dales Way walkers. However, it is often used as part of a cicular day walk from the Dales Way, either between Ilkley and Addingham, or as an optional link via Beamsley Beacon (For a route description see the Dales Way Association Newsletter number 48, Spring 2018).

A notice states: “North Yorkshire County Council has made this Order to prohibit any pedestrian from using Public Footpath 15.96/36/1, Nesfield with Langbar, between grid reference SE08354994 and SE08314990 for a temporary period of six months (subject to access to premises) between 23/10/2018 and 01/04/2019 due to danger to public from unsafe bridge.”

Bolton Abbey Road Closure – Diversions to DalesBus Services

874 at Bolton Abbey

Due to a road closure at Bolton Abbey until around the end of November, bus services between Ilkley, Bolton Abbey and Grassington/Skipton are diverted. Passengers visiting Bolton Abbey on Sundays should catch the bus to/from Bolton Bridge Devonshire Arms, which is approx. 10 minutes walk from Bolton Abbey village green.

Minibus service 74A between Ilkley and Hebden on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is diverted between Bolton Abbey and Barden Tower via Embsay, so the stops at Strid Wood and Barden Scale are not served in either direction, but buses will still stop at Bolton Abbey village green.

Cravenlink Sunday service 873 between Ilkley and Skipton operates via the A59 between Bolton Bridge and Embsay, so the stops at Bolton Abbey, Strid Wood, Barden Scale, Barden Moor and Eastby are not served in either direction.

DalesBus Sunday service 874 between Wakefield/Ilkley and Buckden operates via the A59, Embsay, Eastby and Barden Moor between Bolton Bridge and Barden Tower, so the stops at Bolton Abbey, Strid Wood and Barden Scale are not served in either direction.

Check the revised timetables at the DalesBus website here.

Update: The route has now reopened and buses are running normaly.

Sponsor a Dales Way Fingerpost in the Lake District

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There’s still time to help directly support the Dales Way and get public recognition for your efforts.

The Lake District National Park Authority has introduced a scheme for the public to sponsor various works they undertake, including the installation of fingerposts. Sponsors have the option of including a small plaque on the fingerpost if they wish.

Five replacement Dales Way fingerposts have now been added to their web site available for adoption. The fingerposts will have Dales Way on the blade, some with a destination and mileage.

The cost is £150 for a plain fingerpost, or £250 with a small plaque. Select the “Engrave” button if you want to include a small plaque, maximum 20 characters!

Here are 5 of the Dales Way Finger Posts looking for support:-

  • A three-blade finger post as path splits under railway bridge showing Footpath and Dales Way. Cost: £150 plain or £250 with plaque
  • A single-blade finger post at road side near Staveley Village showing Footpath ‘Dales Way’ to Burneside 3.5 miles. Cost: £150 plain or £250 with plaque
  • A two-blade finger post on road junction at Fell Plain 1. ‘Dales Way’ Staveley 1.5 miles 2. ‘Dales Way’ Bowness 4 miles Cost: £150 plain or £250 with plaque
  • A two-way finger post showing ‘Dales Way’ following a Bridleway as it leaves the old walled lane and heads across fields near Borwick Fold Farm. Cost: £150 plain or £250 with plaque
  • A three-way finger post at the junction with the bridleway, showing Dales Way following along footpath towards Crag House Farm. Cost: £150 plain or £250 with plaque

Go to http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/caringfor/donate for all lakeland projects. The Dales Way is in the Central & South Eastern Area.

Alex retires

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Alex McManus – Cam High Road, 2 May 2011.

Alex McManus, our Footpaths Officer for many years, has decided to retire from active service with the Dales Way Association.

Alex has served the Association in this capacity for very many years and has worked hard to help improve and maintain the Dales Way path for the benefit of Dales Way walkers.

He first joined the DWA committee in 2003 and became Footpaths Officer in 2005. He also served as Newsletter Editor from 2010 to 2014 and turned his hand to a number of other roles, including minutes secretary for a while.

He helped steer the Association through two major crises – in 2008 and 2012, when the DWA faced closure. As Footpaths Officer he was particularly busy following the disastrous floods in the winter of 2015, when several bridges and sections of the path were swept away. Alex worked tirelessly to help walkers find their way around detours, in some cases engaging in a spot of guerrilla waymarking.

Over the years, through his dedication, hard work and persistence, he built up the respect and admiration of many of the local authority Rangers who look after the trail.
But the time has come for him to hang up his boots, put his feet up and enjoy a bit of respite.

Alex is going to be a hard act to follow – in fact we aren’t going to try to replace him. Instead, the DWA committee is going to divide the route up into sections according to the responsible local authority and take on a section each as members, returning to a working pattern adopted early on in the Association’s history.

We’re going to miss Alex.

However, we’re hoping that Alex will still find time to contribute occasionally to this News Section, and our Newsletter.