Category Archives: Association

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.

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.

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.”

Anniversary talk benefits DalesBus

874 at Bolton Abbey

The trustees of Otley Courthouse has made a donation of £100 to the Friends of Dalesbus – a group that campaigns for affordable public transport.

The donation was made following a public talk given at the venue on “50 years of the Dales Way” by Colin Speakman, chair of the Dales Way Association and Vice-chair of the Friends of DalesBus.

Hazel Costello from the Courthouse’s trustees said the donation was a token of thanks to Colin for giving a “very interesting and informative talk”.  She said “The idea of the DalesBus is to encourage as many people as possible to get to the Dales on public transport, and using public transport is more important than ever with the need to use less cars and more buses and so contribute to lessening the effects of climate change.”

DWA committee members Kath Doyle and Gordon Tasker were also on hand to show the new mobile Anniversary Exhibition.

The donation was reported in the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer at the end of last month.

Dales Way IPA at the Flying Duck

DalesWayIPA Cheers Dales Way IPA

A brand new beer brewed by Dent Brewery to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dales Way is now available at the Flying Duck in Ilkley – just in time for our 2019 AGM!

Dales Way IPA has been brewed especially by the Dent Brewery, and first to sample it was our chairman Colin Speakman at the George & Dragon in Dent.

A couple of barrels have been sent down to Ilkley as a special guest ale at the Flying Duck, which will once again host the Dales Way Association Annual General Meeting this year on Saturday 19th October.

Gather at the pub from 1.15 p.m. for sandwiches and chips. the meeting starts at 2 p.m. sharp and will feature a presentation of the year’s events by Colin.

There’s a 4-mile walk in the morning to Mount Calvary and Middleton Woods – meet at the start of the Dales Way, Ilkley Old Bridge, at 10.30 a.m. (details on our Home page).

 

Great success for Anniversary Walk & Exhibition

August 3rd – a bright sunny Saturday morning  – saw over 70 walkers gather at Ilkley Old Bridge to help recreate the first public walk on the Dales Way – 50 years on!

start

Once again Colin speakman led the walkers from Ilkley as they snaked their way through to Addingham for a short break by the church.

AddinghamChurch

Then it was on to Bolton Abbey, where 2 vintage 1960’s buses were on hand to ferry the weary walkers back to Ilkley.

bus

At 3 o’clock people gathered at the Ilkley Manor House, where local MP John Grogan formally opened the month long exhibition – “50 years of the Dales Way”.

JohnGrogan2

The free exhibition runs throughout August at the weekends.

A great day was enjoyed by all. Special thanks go to the team of volunteer stewards from the Dales Way Association, Friends of DalesBus, Friends of the Dales and Friends of A Dales High Way, who all helped ensure the day passed without incident.

See the Ilkley Gazette report here.

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.”

Huge increase in wagons on Cam High Road

There has been a huge increase in the number of 40-ton timber trucks on Cam High Road, following the acquisition of the Greenfield forest site by the current owners of the Cam Forest.

Timber waggons on Cam High Road

Now up to 10 wagons a day are to be found descending the steep road to Gearstones, which serves as an important route for the Dales Way, the Pennine Way and the Pennine Bridleway.

Just last year the owners of Cam Forest gained approval for the limited extraction of timber over an initial period of 3 years, with up to 6 wagons per day. The acquisition of the much larger Greenfield Forest now means the initial period has been extended to 15 years, with the first three years seeing more “intensive harvesting”.

The new rules suggest that of the 10 wagons per day “five of these would take place before 9.30am and endeavours would be made for the majority of the remaining movements to take place after 3pm. Plus, no movements would take place at weekends or bank holidays.”

However, when DWA members were out on Cam on Tuesday, at least four wagons passed along the Cam Road between 2pm and 3pm.

Of course, it is relatively easy for walkers to step off the track and give sufficient berth to the huge wagons, but it is more difficult for horse riders and cyclists, and should any horse drawn cart happen to be heading uphill at the time….

A number of issues remain to be resolved, including the promise that a permissive Dales Way path would be made along the new track at the foot of the Cam Road, avoiding the busy B6255 to Far Gearstones.

Fine walk for Association AGM

The Dales Way Association held its 21st Annual General Meeting on Saturday 26th October. Despite the awful rain on the Friday and the storms predicted for Sunday, members travelled from as far afield as Essex and Shropshire.

The 2013 AGM walk from Burnsall to Grassington

Colin Speakman pauses to read the information board alongside the river Wharfe near Loop Scar

The day started with a walk along the Dales Way from Burnsall to Hebden swing bridge where we paused to inspect the work which is being done to replace the planking on the bridge. The repairs have been made possible by a generous donation from DWA member Eileen King in memory of her late partner Roy Doherty and we were delighted that Eileen had made the long journey to join us. We then walked on to Grassington where we had a short break before returning to Ilkley and the business part of the day.

We got to Burnsall and returned from Grassington on the number 74 bus, a regular service that takes both locals and visitors up and down Wharfedale and is a lovely ride in its own right. During the meeting Footpath Officer Alex McManus told members that he had spent the summer inspecting the Dales Way footpath and had relied on the bus to travel back to his car. We were astonished to learn therefore that this and other rural bus services are in danger of being cut.

Dales Way Association Chairman, Colin Speakman told the meeting; “The Yorkshire Dales National Park, and the Dales Way, one of the jewels in the National Park’s crown, must remain fully accessible to everyone, and the bus services in Upper Wharfedale are essential to achieve this.”

See the Dalesbus website here and the proposed cuts here.

Welcome to the new Dales Way News section

We’re changing the way we organise the news section on the Dales Way website, so welcome to our new dedicated Dales Way News blog!

Dales Way signpost

We look forward to keeping you up to date with all the latest news about the Dales Way footpath, events along the route and news of the work of the Dales Way Association.

You can find all our older news items here.