Outdoor enthusiasts give £1,000 to repair flood-damaged Dales footpaths

Tim Blenkin of Swaledale Outdoor Club presents a cheque to area ranger Michael Briggs.

A group of outdoor enthusiasts has given £1,000 to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to help fund repairs to flood-damaged public rights of way in Arkengarthdale and Swaledale.

The Swaledale Outdoor Club has provided the authority’s ranger service with a much-needed cash boost as it tackles a long list of repairs.

A total of 13 foot or bridleway bridges were broken or washed away during flooding on July 30, while 3.5km of rights of way were covered in debris or landslips, with some sections disappearing completely.

More than a dozen temporary rights of way closures remain in place.

Park authority volunteers have so far given more than a thousand hours to survey routes and help carry out works in the most badly affected areas.

Swaledale Outdoor Club treasurer Tim Blenkin said: “The members of Swaledale Outdoor Club are regular users of public rights of way in the areas affected by last summer’s exceptional cloudburst.

“We’re keen to help all we can to assist the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority in its vital work to restore key routes damaged by the floods.”

Swaledale area ranger Michael Briggs said: “Since the flooding we have been working on repairs we are equipped to tackle at relatively low cost and in collaboration with Parish Councils and landowners.

“But as the clean up has gone on and the land has settled, the jobs have kept coming in.

“The donation from the Swaledale Outdoor Club will help us repair smaller bridges or surface damage.

“The club organise a marathon in the dale every June and we want the route to be fully repaired by then.”

Member champion for recreation management at the park authority, Nick Cotton, added: “There is a great amount to do over the next 24 months.

“Although Arkengarthdale and Swaledale are very much open for business, with many trails unaffected and plenty of opportunities to explore, the damage to the rights of way network is significant.

“We estimate we need £600,000 on top of our usual income streams to put things right.”