Dales Way Association Committee Meetings. AGM 2017

The Dales Way Committee meet 3 times each year, usually January, April and August.For the last 4 years we have met in Settle, moving from West Leeds to accommodate our two members, Tony and Donald, who have to travel from Burneside and Windermere respectively. At our meeting on January 19th, following other business, we fixed the date for our Annual General Meeting. Saturday November 11th. 2017

Our AGM used to be held in the Linton Village Hall, Linton in Craven, which is near Grassington, with a very pleasant country pub overlooking the village green, ideal for lunch after the traditional morning walk. The only problem we had was that the attendance at the meetings usually consisted of the Committee [less apologies] with guests numbering between 1 and 5. At the meeting in 2010 we had 3 visitors. In 2011 with a similar number we decided that a meeting place for our AGM needed to be somewhere easier and more convenient to reach if we wished to attract more people; with good  rail and road transport, together with other attractions. We decided on Ilkey for 2012.

The 2017 AGM will once again, be held at some pleasant and welcoming hostelry. With numbers joining in the morning walk in the mid twenties, it has proved to be the correct decision. Some couples and individuals construct an away break around the AGM, and travel some distance to get there.

With a decent attendance, we have become more adventurous for this years meeting and have invited a speaker. Alan Hulme, Head of Ranger Services, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority will present a slide show and commentary titled, “A walk in the Park”

The day will commence with a 3 to 4 mile walk then lunch, with the meeting starting at 2pm and finishing at 4pm.

The date for the meeting is Saturday November 11th. We have picked this date to avoid local school holidays and festivals that we are aware of, to hopefully, avoid the increase in accommodation that those events attract. Further details will be published nearer the date on our web page.

We hope to see you on the day.


The Final Step. Sprint Mill Footbridge finally replaced and open to walkers.

new-sprint-brisge-open-250117The new footbridge is now in place. The original pillar which was in the middle of the river has been omitted, thus allowing huge floating objectives free passage, one such object suspected as being the cause of the original damage. CCC has been working closely with the mill owners, whose insurers’ settlement has funded the project, to design a bespoke bridge that is more fitting for present and future use. CCC has provided the usual technical expertise, namely design and method statements, obtaining necessary EA and NE consents, tenders and contract management during the works. On behalf of all our future Dales Way travellers, the Dales Way Association wish to thank all those involved in putting this bridge in place.


Open all hours.

Photos supplied by Geoff Fewkes. Countryside Access Officer. CCC

Cumbria County Council Rangers continue to improve the Dales Way.


This distinctive ladder stile between Burneside and Bowston will be remembered by all who have climbed it. An improvement was suggested by the landowner and CCC following their policy to make the Dales Way more accessible, by replacing stiles with gates, have provided something a bit easier to negotiate. This has been funded by their Rights of Way Improvement Project. (RoWIP)  The new alternative will be appreciated by many of our senior and parents of very young, walkers.


Photographs by Geoff Fewkes. Countryside Access Officer. CCC.


The New Bridge at Birks Mill, Sedbergh has been completed.


Carl Lis, the Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority with local resident Richard Thomas, who uses the bridge daily cutting the tape.

Opening the new bridge at Birks Mill, near Sedbergh, in a ceremony on Wednesday, 30th November, Carl Lis said, “The construction of this wonderful new Birks Mill Bridge has been achieved through great teamwork, both amongst those actually working on site, and those providing material and financial support. It will be a great boon to both the local community  and the many visitors who come to walk in this beautiful part of the National Park.”

The components for the bridge were supplied by Cumbria County Council and it was then constructed by Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Rangers, Apprentices and Volunteers in a little over two weeks. A new ramp at one end, steps at the other and surfacing of the path at both ends completed the project.

Nick Cotton, the National Park Authority’s Member Champion for Recreational Management, said “The National Park Authority treats the maintenance of the 2600 kms of public rights of way in the Park as a top priority, to ensure the network is kept in the best possible condition for all the walkers, cyclists and horse riders who use it. In that way we are helping to realise the immense potential for outdoor recreation in Yorkshire Dales Nation Park, consistent with the Government’s 8-Point Plan for England’s National Parks

We couldn’t do all this work without the help we get – in terms of finance, materials or volunteer workers – both individuals, businesses or other partnership organisations and we are very grateful to them for their support.”

Donors for the project are mentioned in the previous bridge item below.


Pictures supplied by Yorkshire Dales National Park  

Sprint road bridge is now open to pedestrians and vehicles, except for larger wagons, as the bridge in Burneside has not yet been repaired. This stretch of road is no longer part of the Dales Way, but in an emergency, walkers may wish to get to Burneside as quickly as possible from the Oakbank junction, rather than follow the Dales Way via Sprint Mill Cottages.

Another Bridge being replaced.

This was the remains of the footbridge, on your left as you enter Birks Mill on the Dales Way, heading for Brigg Flatts, after Storm Desmond. Its disappearance means that people wanting to cross the River Rawthey between Birks and Catholes are forced to take a 2 kilometres detour via Millthrop, reported YDNPA Ranger Paul Wilkinson, at the time.


Work has now started to replace it. The new bridge has a span of over 33 metres. Photo enthusiasts will notice that the middle support has been excluded in the present design, this is inline with the current re-evaluation of the changes in our weather regarding rainfall, river and bridges, as Storm Desmond has reminded us about the unpredictability of nature. The new bridge is higher and the lattice work design and lack of the middle support is to decrease the pressure of water when the river rises.The bridge has been supplied by Cumbria County Council and will be assembled by Yorkshire Dales National Park Authorities rangers. The bridge should be open to walkers by the end of November.

The Authority has been working with a number of partners to plan the replacement. Financial support has come from CCC, the YDNPA, Sedbergh Parish Council, Friends of the Lake District, HF Holidays (Pathways Fund) the Lancaster Group of the Ramblers’ Association and the Dales Way Association.

25 Years of the Dales Way Association.

The Dales Way. A Piece of Cake. . . . only if you have an up to date Guide Book and good maps.The Complete Guide by Colin Speakman, updated this year, has both, and needs to be the first item in the rucksack before you set out next year.


At our AGM on the 15th October this year, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the formation of the Dales Way Association at the Flying Duck in Ilkley. Prior to the meeting 17 DWA members joined Chairman Colin Speakman for an autumnal walk from Burley in Wharfdale station to Ilkley via Burley Woodhead, Burley and Ilkley Moors along the Dales Way Link.


Most walkers were pleased to enter the Flying Duck, intact after the final descent. It was reasonably dry, but still needed concentration. However, all was put into the past as sandwiches with crispy chips appeared for the walkers. The bar was also available for those who wished to participate using their pocket money.

The AGM covered the Chairmans’s  Annual Report, the Treasurers Report, an item from the Membership Secretaries Report, 405 members, and the Footpath Report covering the the damage storm Desmond had inflicted on the Dales Way footpath and the efforts YDNPA and CCC had mustered to repair the damage and bring the Dales Way back to normal. The Website Report stated that the News section on the web site attracted 2187 unique visitors and 6540 views per month, an increase because of the floods. The maps and diversion to the route, available on the web site as a download, had proved invaluable to walkers in the ever changing situation in the early days. The full minutes of the meeting are available to DWA members on our web site.

In Colin’s opening statement he reiterated the importance of David Smith, present at the the very first meeting at Blenheim Lodge, Bowness in 1991, along with other founders. David gave 17 years service, covering  multiple roles and being a hive of energy. Sadly he is no longer with us, and is much missed. Colin also remarked how pleased he was to see Judith Smith here today to help us celebrate 25 years of the DW Association and to cut the celebratory cake.