A NEW stretch of permitted footpath is to be created to the benefit of walkers using the Dales Way path in Upper Wharfedale.

The National Trust, which owns the land in Hubberholme, has been given permission by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to create the fully accessible 630 metre path next to the River Wharfe at Strand Meadows, meaning walkers using the Dales Way path will no longer need to use the existing narrow highway.

The trust’s work will include fencing the path off from the neighbouring hay meadow and creating a firm surface that can remain durable during the wetter months. A new hedge will be planted along the western boundary, alongside scattered planting on the full length of the route.

The new route falls within the remote upland farming landscape of Upper Wharfedale which has become an increasingly popular destination for visitors in recent years. The area was popular with the renowned 20th century author J B Priestley, whose ashes were interred at St Michael and All Angels church in Hubberholme.

The National Trust, which cares for more than 2,500 hectares of land across the Wharfedale estate, says the new path will be created alongside other local improvements such as a new stone seat at Buckden Pike and ongoing tree-planting as part of wider landscape recovery work.

Peter Katic, the National Trust’s Area Ranger for Upper Wharfedale, said: “We’re always looking for ways to make this very special part of the Dales more accessible to all, so this re-routing of a popular route will create a much more attractive and safer experience for visitors and the local community alike.

"Hopefully the work will encourage even more people to engage in more sustainable travel methods and enjoy the natural beauty of Wharfedale in all its glory.”

In granting planning permission, a national park authority report states: "The new path is to be a permissive path that will allow walkers on the Dales way to walk in safety along the riverbank rather than the road. The surfacing will mean that it is open to a wide range of users, and it will be prevented from getting muddy owing to its surface in the wetter months."

It adds: "The new path will increase access opportunities to the countryside by opening up a new stretch of surfaced walkway suitable for a wider range of users. This route will also take walkers away from Dubbs Lane, so they can walk in safety on the river bank."