Wharfedale Greenway making progress


What the route could look like - The Nidderdale Greenway (Credit - Sustrans)

Plans to create a new traffic free walking and cycling route that could eventually stretch all the way from Pool in Wharfedale to Bolton Abbey are being backed by a recently formed supporters’ group.


Friends of Wharfedale Greenway was formed earlier this year to help bolster the embryonic scheme that would use the old railway line to form the first section of the trail between Otley and Burley-in-Wharfedale railway station.


After a successful year raising awareness of the project, the group held a public meeting in October to agree their priorities for the next year. They agreed the main focus will be raising awareness of the project, the development of a website and more information stands at public events throughout the valley. The group are also working on plans to highlight the history of the greenway route and build relationships with other community groups.


The group heard updates on where the traffic free trail will go with the first section planned to link Otley and Burley-In-Wharfedale utilising the old railway line that closed in 1965. It’s also hoped that the route will connect with Menston and eventually be extended through Ilkley and possibly as far as Bolton Abbey. Heading east, the greenway could link to Pool-in-Wharfedale.


Friends of Wharfedale Greenway heard suggestions about places people would like to see safely connected. Nearly one hundred locations up and down the valley have been suggested and the group are sharing the results with local authorities to encourage the creation of safe links to the Greenway. The group are continuing to welcome more suggestions via their short online survey - www.tinyurl.com/fowgsurvey


Commenting on the success of the first FOWG meeting, Chair Antony Butcher said, “It was great to hear some of the recent updates about the route, as well as some of the next steps we might see over the next year. It's clear that the project continues to enjoy widespread support along the Wharfe Valley, with people keen to see this built as soon as possible. Whilst there is still plenty of work to do before we see shovels in the ground we're excited to see what happens next".


Anyone interested in getting involved should contact friendsofwharfedalegreenway@gmail.com. A range of opportunities are available such as volunteering at an information stand, getting involved in practical work or helping out with social media. The group also regularly shares updates at www.facebook.com/friendsofwharfedalegreenway


The Wharfedale Greenway project is being led by town and parish councils in Wharfedale with funding for the route expected to come from Government funds and West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Both Leeds and Bradford City Councils have also backed the scheme.


Whilst there is still plenty of planning work to complete, the group hope that work on the trail could begin in the next few years and that cyclists, walkers and horse riders may be able to access the first phase of the route from the mid 2020s.