VOLUNTEERS with the Aire Rivers Trust have restored a wooden footbridge over Skipton's Waller Hill Beck, first built by school pupils more than 40 years ago in 1977.

Following the beck takes people on a woodland walk, through The Ginnel and onto the Wilderness Woods - one of the town's hidden beauty spots.

The bridge, near the bowls club, was constructed by Aireville School pupils - now Skipton Academy - in 1977 as part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee commemorations. The bridge was built at the school and constructed at the site.

In 2013 it was closed for a while after vandals damaged it by jumping on the decking and breaking through. It was repaired by Craven District Council and put back in use.

On a separate occasion, the bridge gave way beneath a pedestrian who became trapped and needed to be rescued by the fire service. He received compensation from Craven Council.

More than 40 years later, it is still being regularly used despite its missing rails and rotting boards.

Ambitious repairs have now taken place, as part of a programme of volunteer events, after the charity noted the damage during a series of walks exploring the River Aire and its tributaries with Craven Walkers.

Simon Watts, community engagement manager for the trust, said: “Here at the Aire Rivers Trust we’re passionate about bringing people closer to their local streams and rivers.

"We want people to realise what a fantastic place they are for nature and recreation. The more people who visit our river, the more people who want to see it getting better and better."

After contacting Craven Council, the charity’s volunteers offered to repair the bridge.

The floor of the bridge has been completely re-done, broken railings replaced, and lost uprights carefully recreated and attached.

Heather Downer a student on placement at the trust, said: “It’s been a really interesting challenge.

“You never realise really quiet and beautiful places like this are tucked away in our towns.”

The result is a now once again complete bridge, worthy of the community it represents says Mr Watts.

The Aire Rivers Trust works along the length of the River Aire to make it a better place for wildlife and people. It runs volunteer days every Thursday and Friday.

New volunteers are always welcome and can sign up on the Aire Rivers Trust website www.aireriverstrust.org.uk where people can also report 'local grot spots' in need of cleaning up.