Railways station flags used to repair Yorkshire Dales paths


Large flagstones which once lined the platforms of two stations have been reused on public rights of way in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

J Murphy and Sons Ltd last year announced a donation of three trailer-loads of flags to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) as part of a station refurbishment.

The flags have now been laid at five sites, improving the condition of around 400 linear metres of paths.

The stone has been used at popular places which were notoriously boggy, such as by Aisgill Force near Gayle and at Buckden Pike summit.

YDNPA area manager for the southern Dales, Kate Hilditch, said: “It’s becoming harder and harder to source Yorkshire stone flags, so we were delighted and grateful to receive this donation from Murphy.

“The flags have been put to good use and have already been enjoyed by many thousands of walkers.”

The flags came from Kirkham and Wesham Station in Lancashire.

Murphy’s site manager, Mark Rittenberg, said: “We wanted to do something with the left over stone from Kirkham that would mean it wasn’t wasted and would also benefit the wider community.

“We got in touch with the team at the Yorkshire Dales National Park because we knew they would be able to put the stone to good use.”

The flags have been used at:

  • Semerwater Site of Special Scientific Interest, Upper Wensleydale. Flags were laid on a 60 metre section of boggy footpath from Marsett to Semerwater, where walkers were cutting wide and causing erosion.
  • Aisgill Force near Gayle, Upper Wensleydale.  Flags were installed on a 20 metre section of a popular footpath near the waterfall.  Previous engineered surfaces had washed away with the beck in spate. The newly installed flags are expected to provide a sturdy and permanent solution.
  • Mossy Moor, Wharfedale.  Flags were laid along nearly 40 metres of a popular footpath that leaves Hebden and connects to other public rights of way via Mossy Moor reservoir. The flags provide a good surface for walkers and at the same time protect the fragile moorland vegetation which is important habitat for ground nesting birds.
  • Buckden Pike summit, Upper Wharfedale.  Works have been carried out over a number of years, in partnership with the National Trust, to install flags along a route that links the public bridleway terminating at the summit and the public bridleway at Tor Mere Top. Stone from Kirkham and Wesham station was flown to site this year to provide a further 80 metres of flagged path, helping to address the increasing level of peat erosion.
  • Whernside, Chapel-le-Dale.  The remainder of the flags are currently being installed on a path on the Three Peaks challenge route, near Bruntscar Farm, to provide a sustainable surface.