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Strong Public Support for Hawes-Garsdale Proposal
Bainbridge, 17 June 2022
A survey suggests there is strong public support for developing a multi-user route along a scenic six-mile stretch of former railway in Upper Wensleydale.
Nearly four out of five members of the public have backed a proposal for a new family-friendly, wheelchair-accessible route between the town of Hawes and Garsdale Station on the Settle-Carlisle mainline.
A total of 2,261 individual responses were received, with a minority of respondents – 19% – against the proposal on the grounds that they would prefer the former trackbed to be protected from any development.
The online survey was carried out by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, after its Members approved the principle of creating a Hawes-Garsdale multi-user route at its March quarterly meeting and asked for views from the public.
The full results will be presented at the next Authority meeting, on Tuesday 28 June, when Members will decide whether to formally back the proposal. Meeting papers will be published next week here.
Currently there is no public access along the former branch line between Hawes and Garsdale. The railway closed more than sixty years ago.
The Chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Neil Heseltine said: “This is one of the most engaged surveys the Authority has undertaken in recent years, and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to take part.
“Support from local people for a Hawes-Garsdale bridleway is particularly strong. Overall, 77% of respondents supported the proposal, but among those who described themselves as living and/or working or owning a business in the National Park, support rose to 82%. That is owing to a desire to create a safe place for children to cycle or go horse riding away from the main road, a need for a direct, car-and-motorcycle-free route between Hawes and Garsdale Station, and a need to support economic development, which the route would likely stimulate.
“The former railway is a monument to Victorian engineering, but at the moment it is a largely wasted – and deteriorating – asset. If Members decide later this month to confirm their support for a Hawes-Garsdale multi-user route, then the Authority would approach potential project partners to discuss a way ahead“.
A feasibility study into the creation of a Hawes-Garsdale multi-user route, commissioned by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Richmondshire District Council, is here.
Image: The line of the former railway as it approaches Hawes – YDNPA
For more information, please contact the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Media Officer Andrew Fagg (Andrew.Fagg@yorkshiredales.org.uk) or Communications Manager Mark Sadler (Mark.Sadler@yorkshiredales.org.uk).
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of 15 National Parks in the UK. It is administered by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which has two main purposes: “to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage” and “to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park”. In carrying out these purposes, the Authority has a duty “to seek to foster the economic and social wellbeing of local communities”. The National Park Authority comprises 25 members, made up of county and district councillors and members appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment to represent parishes or in recognition of their specialist skills or knowledge.
All of our work is guided by the vision for the future of the National Park set out in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan: “Through their passion for this special place, local people and businesses will keep the Yorkshire Dales National Park a thriving area. Its unique cultural landscape will be treasured for its stunning scenery, exceptional heritage and wonderful wildlife, and every year millions of people will be inspired to be a part of it.”
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