Saddle up for the new Pennine Bridleway
The Yorkshire Dales National Park section of the Pennine Bridleway - the UK’s newest National Trail and the first designed specifically for horseriders, mountain bikers and walkers - will open this summer.
When finished, the full trail will run for 200 miles from Derbyshire to Cumbria, and the 52 miles which cross this National Park are nearly complete.
The route - which is on public rights of way and minor roads so is completely free to use - enters the National Park at Long Preston in the south and weaves its way north via Settle, Malham Moor, Feizor, Austwick, Selside, Newby Head and the Moorcock Inn, before exiting near Mallerstang in Cumbria.
Dent Whernside Ribblehead Viaduct Pen-y-ghent
Horton In Ribblesdale Settle Kettlewell
and stone walls rather than fences where appropriate - should ensure that
these new ‘engineered’ sections blend well into the landscape over time.
Malham Long Preston Grassington
To create the exciting new trail a huge amount of work has been carried out over the last eight years to link and improve existing rights of way as well as to create brand new ones with the agreement of landowners.
Care has been taken to select the best journey through the Dales from a safety, wildlife, landscape and local community point of view, and to incorporate interesting features along the way, including old packhorse trails and droving routes.
The surface is a combination of natural limestone grassland and new ‘grass gravel’ tracks over peaty areas. The materials - such as native grass seed,
Looping the Loop
The popular 10 mile (16km) long Settle Loop offers a fantastic circular cycle, hike or horse ride and was the first section of the Pennine Bridleway in the Yorkshire Dales National Park to be opened in 2005.
It takes in some stunning limestone scenery including views of Malham Tarn, Attermire Scar and the famous peaks of Ingleborough,
We have been busy putting in the final missing links and nearly all the physical works are complete - including the creation of over 6 miles of brand new bridleway, a mammoth undertaking.
Just the Network Rail legal agreements remain to be finalised for the three locations where the route crosses the Settle-Carlisle railway line, plus the final section where the route leaves the National Park south of the A65 at Long Preston, and then it will be time to saddle up!
Maps, cycle and horse services, places to stay and eat along the route, and all the information you need to help you plan your trip can be found on the Pennine Bridleway website www.nationaltrail.co.uk/penninebridleway
Pen-y-ghent and Whernside. Much of the route was impassable to horse riders and cyclists and some sections along the Gorbeck Road were so badly damaged it was difficult to stand up before restoration.
Starting in Settle, the loop climbs steeply out of this lovely town, traverses a wonderful limestone upland, before descending back on mixed gravel and grass trails. There are many other bridleways in the area which can be used to extend your journey by linking to Malham Tarn and village, and over into Littondale and Wharfedale.
Please note that the route is steep, tough and remote in places - riders and walkers will need to be fit. Experienced off-road cyclists could expect to complete the circuit in around 2-3 hours, but for walkers and horse-riders this is an all-day activity.
Download the free Settle Loop leaflet from our website www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/settleloop
or pick up a copy from National Park Centres.
The timber-framed Far Moor Bridge - which crosses the River Ribble near Selside and is part of a new link section on the Pennine Bridleway - is believed to be the longest of its kind in the world. In recognition of its outstanding design and craftsmanship, it won the Judges Special Award at the British Construction Industry Awards 2011 and was also highly commended at the Wood Awards.
What are National Trails?
National Trails are long distance routes for walking, cycling and horse riding through some of the finest landscapes in the UK. There are 15 in England and Wales - 2,500 miles (4,000km) in length - created by linking existing local footpaths, bridleways and minor roads and by developing new ones where there were gaps.
The Mary Towneley loop in the Peak District was the very first section of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail to open in 2002 and is dedicated to the memory of Lady Mary Towneley who dreamed of a long distance route over the Pennines for horse riders and campaigned for many years.
The Pennine Bridleway will be the first National Trail suitable for horse riders and cyclists along its entire length.
How did National Trails come about?
The popularity of walking in the wild and beautiful parts of Britain and the desire to protect our most special landscapes from development after World War II led to the creation of National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Long Distance Routes (now called National Trails in England and Wales). The first such route, the Pennine Way, opened right here in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in 1965.
In England, funding for National Trails is provided by the Government through Natural England. Find out more at www.nationaltrail.co.uk
Visit the Yorkshire Dales National Park online at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk
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