An update from the Area Footpath Committee – Early Summer 2019

Burley Bridge project will open up new walking routes!

An appeal for funds will shortly be made by the Burley Bridge Association, to which the West Riding Area Ramblers has long been affiliated. Their efforts to get a bridge built at the Greenholme stepping-stones have at last resulted in the granting of planning permission by the authorities on both banks of the river, but large sums will have to be raised to get the bridge built. Walkers stand to benefit greatly from a bridge as it will provide access to the Washburn Valley area and plug the long gap between the river crossings at Otley and Ilkley. Burley has good transport links and shops.

Another issue arises from the realignment of the A59 at Kexgill, where geological problems have forced the moving of the road to the other side of the valley, using substantially the line of what is at present a bridleway. This bridleway will be moved to a new line, and the Footpath Committee is determined to ensure that this new line offers the same experience of open moorland as the present bridleway, rather than running close to the busy new A59 carriageway. Footpath committee members and other Ramblers have made a strong case for what we consider to be the most appropriate route for this bridleway.

Reporting of footpath problems such as vegetation, ploughing and electric fences depends on information about particular cases from members who encounter difficulties when out walking. The Pathwatch App can be used by those who have smart-phones or often a quick email to the Group Footpath officer can a useful alternative. Contact details for your local footpath officer can be found in the West Riding Walks programme or on your local Ramblers Group website. The main problem for the recipients of such reports is being able to send on as exact as possible a location to the Rights of Way sections of the local authority concerned. Using nearby farms and physical features can be sufficient if working with map references is a discouragement. As long as the basic locality can be fixed, finding out path numbers etc can be done by your Footpath officer.

Footpath officers also try to keep an eye on planning applications which affect footpaths, and, more generally, on the high level strategic plans which all our authorities are currently putting into place. A typical week in Leeds, for example, will produce between 100 and 200 new planning applications. Most of these will be of no interest to the Footpath officer, but it is time consuming to filter out the ones that matter. If members get wind of an application which they think might affect a footpath, let your Footpath officer know. Notices will be posted which give the reference number of the application.

Lee Davidson & Steve Fleming

Dates of Footpath Meetings:

Tuesday 10th September & Tuesday 26th November at 7pm St George’s Centre, 60 Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3DL