New Coast to Coast national trail set to feature major diversion for years

The current A19 crossing of the Coast to Coast trail. Picture: LDRS.

The new Coast to Coast national trail looks set to feature a significant diversion for years to come, it has emerged, as it will mean finding more than £10m to enable people to safely cross a dual carriageway.

Natural England, which has been tasked by the Government with upgrading the Coast to Coast route into a national trail, has revealed a feasibility study had concluded the cheapest option to cross the A19 was a £3m footbridge and a farm traffic and bridleway bridge at the existing crossing near Ingleby Arncliffe came in at £22m.

A meeting of North Yorkshire Local Access Forum was told Natural England intended “to push as hard as possible for a bridleway bridge, as a minimum”, so the existing bridleway network can retain its connectivity, and the cost of providing a crossing was likely to be at least £10m.

The meeting heard while Richmond MP Rishi Sunak had pushed for the route to be upgraded to a national trail one of the reasons it had not been considered for the status before was because Natural England had felt unable to promote a national trail that crossed a dual carriageway “with no safe pedestrian crossing”.

The forum was told while the national trail upgrade was set to be completed by October 2025, getting finance for the crossing close to the current walk line would be “a medium to long-term objective”.

The meeting heard Natural England had calculated that after reaching the A19 walkers who had already covered about 20 miles in a day would be faced with a five-mile diversion for a safe crossing.

The meeting was told Ingleby Arncliffe had numerous businesses focused on walkers on the Coast to Coast trail, and the traders were very keen on walkers continuing to use their village.

A Natural England officer said: “If we do use another crossing point, which will mean diverting north or diverting south, there’s a real danger walkers will start to habitually bypass that centre of accommodation and food and we really want to avoid that.

“The thing we need to protect is the income that Ingleby Arncliffe derive from the Coast to Coast.

“All alternatives are still on the table and we are still looking at how we are going to do it.”

Describing the plan to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on the crossing as “mind-boggling and barking”, forum member and North York Moors estate owner George Winn-Darley said if £10m was available to improve access in North Yorkshire building a bridge over the A19 would not be a priority.

He said: “This is a route that has been in existence for as long as any national trail that has been in existence, the justification for spending £10m on creating a crossing I find very difficult. There are so many things people would like to do.”

The meeting heard people had been crossing the A19 for 50 years and there were other means to cross the road, but North Yorkshire Council did not consider the existing crossing safe.

However, Skipton councillor Robert Heseltine told the meeting it was essential a safe crossing was developed.

The Natural England officer said: “It is safe to cross as long as you are patient, confident and observant. At the end of a long day’s walk sometimes people aren’t patient, confident and observant.”

The meeting also heard after the Government had faced legal action over the lack of consultation around cycling and horse riding on the new route, Natural England had been working very closely with the British Horse Society and Cycling UK, as well as work to improve access for people with limited mobility.

The meeting was told the bodies had also held talks with all three national parks on the route to discuss the creation of a “rider’s route” to complement the national trail. coverging where there is accommodation, shops, cafes and pubs.

1 Comment

  1. And that’s the crucial element. Whatever they came up with, it had to be at the current location. It’s already a long day’s walk, and adding more to it to divert elsewhere to cross would’ve been unhelpful.

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