‘Good progress’ being made on Hawes to Garsdale multi-user route

The line of the former railway as it approaches Hawes. Photo: YDNPA.

Good progress is being made to create the Hawes to Garsdale multi-user route along the former railway line, national park bosses say.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has been developing a proposal to create the bridleway since 2022 and has identified all the separate land holdings along the proposed route.

Land agents working for the national park authority have been in discussions about compensation and practical issues with most of the landowners.

It is hoped that by the end of March next year the first public right of way creation agreements will have been signed.

At that stage, detailed plans for installing the necessary infrastructure will be drawn up, as well as bids to potential funders for the capital works.

A survey carried out in March 2022 demonstrated public support for a multi-user route along Hawes Branch, a six-mile stretch of disused railway line between Garsdale Station and Hawes.

Officials say almost 80 per cent of the nearly 2,300 responses expressed support for a family-friendly, off-road, wheelchair-accessible way for people on horse, bike or foot, which would bring significant local economic development.

Lizzie Bushby, member champion for recreation management, said: “Enquiries about the progress of the Hawes-Garsdale Multi-User Route are being made regularly, so it’s time we provided an update, especially for those who took part in the survey in 2022.

“Good progress is being made. The principle of developing a public right of way between Garsdale Station and the former Hawes Station has been established.

“Resources have been allocated to complete creation agreements in partnership with landowners.

“Discussions are well advanced with partners regarding the liability for some of the larger structures. From the looks of it, the Victorian infrastructure of Hawes Branch, being well-built, is fundamentally sound.

“There is a lot of excitement about the project. It will provide spectacular views of the farmed landscape and a level way for all abilities. It will promote active travel at a time of climate emergency. And it will provide a far safer opportunity for children and their families to exercise and access nature in the magnificent environment of Upper Wensleydale.”

The national park authority said is was still too early to provide a detailed timescale for the development.

Lizzie added: “It’s certainly going to take several years to complete, as we learned when we developed the Pennine Bridleway National Trail.

“Yet we are confident the Hawes-Garsdale Multi User Route will happen. The first practical works on the ground, on those land parcels where creation agreements are efficiently reached, could begin in 2025.”

6 Comments

  1. Three years after the survey before the work starts and several years to carry it out: that’s progress all right, but very slow.

  2. Funnily enough, it used to be a multi user path: it was called a railway line!

  3. Why not he’ll the wensleydale railway to build from Garsdale to Hawes to relay then as that’s done the bridal way can be put in aswell.

  4. Thanks for the update. I participate in the original survey and am only sorry it is taking so long to establish.
    Like most things in life it will be well worth waiting for.
    Keep up the good work and I only hope I will be around to see it opened.

  5. Here’s me thinking the YDNPA were here to preserve the historic parts of our area.

    But now I find they are now going to take away any chance of returning this to its former use as a railway where people of Hawes could board a train and travel to Leeds and beyond leaving there cars at home.

    Also visters would flock into Hawes from Leeds and beyond also leaving there cars at home.

    Just turn the clocks back many years when almost all the sea side resorts had railways leading to them which was very successful with people coming from all over the country.

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