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.




New Bridge for Old.

Cumbria County Council’s Access Officers Team, putting Storm Desmond behind them, continue to improve the Dales Way. They have now moved to the access path into Grayrigg Foot and replaced the bridge over the beck, which has seen better days, leading into the farm.old-grfoot-br

The new bridge has been installed under routine maintenance and has been designed  project managed and fully funded by Cumbria County Council. As usual in these projects, the landowner has been extremely cooperative during the planning and installation phases of the project which is appreciated by CCC.newgrfoot-br

The Dales Way Association on behalf of its members and walkers wish to thank all parties for this recent improvement to its footpath.

Bridge over troubled waters. Mint condition.

A new bridge has been installed over the River Mint, which was funded by Friends of the Lake District. However, not on display is the work put in by the Countryside  Access Team, who dealt with landowner negotiation, bridge design, seeking consent from both the Environment Agency and Natural England for the works to be undertaken. They then managed the project. Photos kindly supplied by Geoff Fewkes, Countryside Access Officer, CCC.

The contractors and CCC Rangers wish to express their appreciation to the landowners  for their help and cooperation during the work. The diversion notices have now been removed and the Dales Way is now back to normal on this section.

The Dales Way Association, on behalf of its members and the 3000 plus walkers who walk the Dales Way, wish to thank the Friends of the Lake District for this generous gesture, and all the work, described above, by the CCC teams.