VISITORS to the Dales will be able to access additional and improved weekend bus services beginning this Easter weekend.

DalesBus, which operates a network of weekend bus services to the Dales is marking the 70th anniversary of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act by putting on more services, so opening the park up to even more people.

Highlights for the summer include a new Saturday service direct from the centre of Bradford to Bolton Abbey, Burnsall and Grassington. The DalesBus 74 will be partly financed by the Bradford Sikh community to improve access to the Dales for people from all cultures and backgrounds.

A new circular sightseeing DalesBus 857/830 will go through Wensleydale and Swaledale over Buttertubs Pass, and links to Castle Bolton, Richmond and Masham, connecting at Ribblehead Station with trains from Keighley, Skipton and Settle.

An improved DalesBus 821 service from Keighley and Otley to Upper Nidderdale will allow those without cars to reach the footpaths and public access land of the popular reservoirs in Upper Nidderdale and the Washburn Valley.

A direct new service from Malham on DalesBus 881, will meeting bus and trains from Skipton at Settle to serve Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

There will be a new direct Sunday service on Craven Connection 580/581 from Skipton, Gargrave, Hellifield and Long Preston to Settle, Clapham, Ingleton, Kirkby Lonsdale and Lancaster.

And, a unique double deck sightseeing bus 822 from Grassington, with connections from Skipton on service 72, and Upper Wharfedale, crossing the Kidstone Pass to Hawes – offering magnificent panoramic sightseeing from the top deck.

Paul Harrison, chairman of the Friends of DalesBus said: “DalesBus is enabling people living in many congested towns and cities of Northern England to enjoy exactly what Parliament intended – weekend access opportunities to the wonderful countryside and open spaces of the Yorkshire Dales for walking and sightseeing”.

And, Chris Nash, chairman of the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company (CIC) that manages the DalesBus network added: “There are compelling social, environmental and economic reasons why good public access at affordable fares is needed to reach our national parks. “The network which we have been able to provide, thanks to vital support from many different individuals and organisations, gives superb access to some of the finest countryside in England.”

Potential visitors to the Dales using the DalesBus services can pick up a copy of the summer Metro DalesBus timetable from bus and rail stations, libraries, visitor and community centres throughout the area.

Timetables can also be downloaded from the website:

All services are due to start during the Easter weekend, Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, with the exception of the 830/857 services from Preston and Teeside to Swaledale and Wensleydale, which will start on Sunday, May 19.