A 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales
A Dales High Way Walk: a 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales

A Dales High Way

News Archive 2013

30 years since rail closure threat

Exactly 30 years ago today British Rail issued notices announcing its plans to close the Settle to Carlisle Settle stationrailway line.

Thus began an heroic six-year campaign to save it.

The ultimate success of that campaign has secured the world-famous line’s future and seen the use of the line increase over ten-fold, with 1.2 million passengers now travelling on it each year – including walkers returning at the end of A Dales High Way.

The line had been in danger since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. British Rail deliberately ran down the line, closing stations and axing services, so that by the 1970s just two daily services were running, stopping only at Appleby between Settle and Carlisle. Then British rail announced that Ribblehead Viaduct was in danger of collapsing, and replacement would cost over £6 million.

Undaunted, a huge campaign to save the line was launched, with seasoned campaigners from Transport 2000 joining groups like the newly formed Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line Association and local authorities under the umbrella of the Joint Action Committee. A record number of objections were submitted - from 22,265 people and one dog!

And it later transpired that the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct could be repaired after all – at a fraction of the cost proposed by BR.

On April 11, 1989, government minister Michael Portillo finally signed the line’s reprieve. That act will be celebrated next year on its 25th anniversary. Watch this space for details.

See the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line here.

15 December 2013

Tour de France preparations step up a gear

Preparations for next year's Tour de France Grand Départ Malcolm Elliot. Photo: Bradley Ormesherare stepping up a gear with just seven months to go.

The Grand Départ Stage 1 will leave Leeds on 5 July for a breath-taking, 190-kilometre ride through the Yorkshire Dales National Park to Harrogate. Cyclists will pass by Ilkley, Addingham, Skipton and Hetton - all on the route of A Dales High Way.

The route passes through Wharfedale, Bishopdale, Wensleydale and Swaledale, with climbs over Kidstones from Wharfedale into Bishopdale, Buttertubs Pass from Wensleydale to Swaledale and then out of Grinton towards Leyburn.

And on the following day the cyclists will skirt through the southern edge of the National Park as they ride past Bolton Abbey and through Addingham again on their way from York to Sheffield.

With just over seven months to go, there have already been numerous meetings with the Yorkshire Dales National Park communities, landowners, and farmers along the route to find out what facilities and events they want to stage.

National Park Authority Chairman Peter Charlesworth said: "The staging of the Grand Départ is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase this amazing area to people all over the world – with the added bonus that it also coincides with the 60th anniversary of the creation of the National Park.

"An estimated 400,000 people are expected to line the route within the National Park and for all the businesses and communities, it’s a chance to boost their incomes like never before. And we are pulling out all the stops to encourage the spectators to visit us again when the Tour de France has long gone.

See the revamped Cycle the Dales website here, and the official Tour de France Grand Depart website here.

3 Dec 2013

New App for exploring Three Peaks area

A new downloadable smartphone app has been developed New Three Peaks smartphone appto help walkers explore the Three Peaks area of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The app will prove useful for walkers intent on tackling the Three Peaks Challenge route, but will also provide a wealth of information for other walkers exploring the area, including walkers on A Dales High Way.

As well as route descriptions for the Three Peaks Challenge route, using OS maps at 1:50,000, there are alternative routes up these iconic mountains. There are archaeological and other Points of Interest, stunning 360° panoramas from the summits; an augmented reality 'toposcope' for each of the three peaks; advice on what to wear and what equipment to bring; information on travel, accommodation and places to eat.

The app has been developed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and costs just £1.99 to download. It is currently only available for iphone users, but an android version is expected shortly.

Get the Three Peaks app here.

13 Nov 2013

Baildon becomes the latest Walkers Are Welcome town

Baildon is the latest town to achieve Walkers Are Welcome status. It’s a pretty little place perched on the Baildon Walkers Are Welocme cakeedge of the moors above Saltaire with lots of opportunities for walking.

Walkers setting out on A Dales High Way cross into Baildon parish soon after the start when they begin the climb into Trench Wood.

Over 250 enthusiastic walkers turned out to celebrate the good news at a launch event on October 19th. A fascinating presentation entitled “Poets, Protestors, and Campaigners: 200 Years of the Outdoor Movement” was given by Colin Speakman, walking campaigner and author of over 50 books. Afterwards Colin cut a celebration cake made especially to mark the event.

Richard Freeman, Chair of the Walkers Are Welcome Steering Group said: “Colin Speakman’s presentation gave us a fascinating insight into the contributory factors, including poetry, literature, and campaigning - which have led to England having the finest rights of way and access to the countryside in the world. It is this heritage which Baildon Walkers are Welcome Steering Group want to continue to build on.”

Skyware Press, publishers of the Dales High Way guidebooks and Colin Speakman’s Dales Way guide, was just one of a number of stalls offering information and equipment which visitors browsed before heading on to the moors to join one of six guided walks.

See Baildon Walkers Are Welcome here, and the national Walkers Are Welcome here.

28 Oct 2013

One woman and her dog

Rachael Murdoch runs her dog Mona

Walkers on A Dales High Way may be lucky enough to come upon a sheepdog trial in progress. If so, please stop and watch for a while. It is quite enthralling to see the skill of both handler and dog as they work together to coax a group of lively sheep around a course of obstacles and into a pen.

Dales High Way author Chris Grogan is no stranger to sheepdog trials. Her father John Murdoch was a well known Dentdale shepherd and dog runner and her brother Ian has followed suit. Ian was a judge at this year’s International Sheep Dog Trials and has won many cups and trophies. Twenty year old niece Rachel is keeping up the family tradition and recently won her first trial, beating her dad into 7th place.

“I’m so pleased for her” said Chris. “It’s great to see young people carrying on traditional skills like dog running. Her grandad would have been proud.”

Photo shows Rachel Murdoch and Mona at this season’s opening Ryedale nursery trial.

Watch a sheepdog trial here . Catch the 2013 "One man and his dog" final on BBC TV's Countryfile, Sunday 27 October.

14 Oct 2013

Skipton Puppet Festival sell-out

A new online booking system saw most events for the fifth Skipton Puppet Festival sold out in advance.

Skipton Puppet Festival 2013Fortunately, there were plenty of free events, including 33 street performances, for those who missed out.

Many of the shows and street performances were held at the festival hub in Skipton's Coach Street car park and, on Sunday, hundreds of people lined the streets of Skipton to watch a colourful puppet parade.

As usual the festival included a host of international performers. “We were very glad to be invited to take part in this festival,” said Ana Lorite, who manipulated a puppet that she carved herself while staying in Grassington. “The people here are very nice. Usually we don’t have audiences who are this kind. The Skipton area is a really inspiring place, but maybe I thought that we brought the sun with us from Spain.”

Festival administrator Clare Danek said “We couldn’t have wished for a better festival. It’s been a great weekend and there’s nothing that we would have done differently.

“People came from all over the country and across Europe, which demonstrates that there’s a hunger for puppet shows.”

See the Skipton Puppet Festival website here.

1 October 2013

Appleby Castle re-opens

For walkers on the last leg of A Dales High Way, the Tours resume at Appleby Castleiconic sight of Appleby Castle’s Keep means the end of the long trail is at hand - it’s only a few minutes walk past the castle gates to the Moot Hall and the end of the 90 mile journey.

For the last 12 years the castle gates have remained firmly closed to the public, the legacy of a long running disagreement between the owner and English Heritage about the development of the monument.

Not anymore. Guided tours of the castle are being offered 4 times daily by the current owner and her very knowledgeable staff. The tour begins at the gates with a history of the castle and continues along a 500 year old yew walk before going inside to explore the interior.

Appleby Castle is no ruin. It is still very much a home and family photographs hang alongside oil paintings of royalty. Lady Anne Clifford is probably the best known of the castle’s owners and the tour guides pay tribute to the “great Northern lady” with anecdotes and stories – not all to her credit. When an enemy of hers was held at the castle awaiting execution, Lady Anne famously “forgot” to hand over a last minute reprieve until after the deed was done.

The tour takes in the Great Hall, Lady Anne’s bedroom and reading room, and the Round Tower. The Keep, alas, is still undergoing structural repairs. The tour ends with tea and cakes and a chance to chat further with the guides.

Each two-hour tour takes just 12 people and places must be booked and paid for at Appleby Tourist Information Centre. The Town Mayor, Andy Connell, said, “A lot of people have worked very hard to put together a tour that’s informative, interesting and indeed at various points exciting.”

See the Appleby Castle website here, and the new Appleby Town website here.

14 September 2013

Two Ways of exploring the Yorkshire Dales

Two new editions of long distance walk guides from Skyware Press offer contrasting yet complementary ways to explore the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria.

Colin Speakman, chairman of the Dales Way AssociationColin Speakman’s Dales Way describes an 80-mile riverside route from Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere. It is now in its eleventh incarnation, since the very first edition was published by the Dalesman in 1970.

Colin Speakman said: "The Dales Way is one of Britain's best loved long distance walks. Connecting urban West Yorkshire with the Lake District, it goes through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, linking two of England's most spectacularly beautiful National Parks. There's no better way of discovering this magnificent landscape than on foot, and, as generations of Dales Way walkers have discovered, of enjoying wonderful Yorkshire hospitality and a warm welcome along the entire route.  Many people who walk the Dales Way return to do it a second or even a third time, because it is such an enjoyable and satisfying walk, as rich in cultural associations as it is in natural beauty".  

Tony & Chris Grogan’s A Dales High Way Route Guide describes an altogether more challenging 90-mile long distance route over the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales, from Saltaire to Appleby. This new edition coincides with the completion of the waymarking of this increasingly popular route.

Colin Speakman said “As the founder of the Dales Way and Chairman of the Dales Way Association, I am a strong supporter of the Dales High Way, which is already proving a popular and widely accepted walking route through the Yorkshire Dales and east Cumbria. We see it as complementary to and not in any way in competition to the Dales Way - indeed once people have walked the Dales Way we often suggest they come to the area again to walk the Dales High Way.

“It is a particularly lovely route and because it is at a higher level to the Dales Way, offers a different kind of experience.  It is also offers a marvellous introduction to what we hope will some become part of the extended Yorkshire Dales and Westmorland Fells National Park if Natural England's proposals for the National Park boundary extensions are adopted.”

Buy both guides direct from Skyware press here. See the Dales Way association site here.

25 August 2013

Skipton Woods Optional route

A couple of optional routes between Skipton and Tarn The walkway alongside Skipton CastleMoor are available to walkers starting Section Two of A Dales High Way.

The first is a very popular local walk along a canalside spur beside Skipton Castle, leading onto a permissive path through glorious Skipton Woods and up to the A65 road crossing. The woods are owned by Skipton Castle, but managed by the Woodland Trust who have resurfaced 2 km of track for the public to enjoy.

The second provides a safer alternative to the crossing of this busy bypass, taking a diversion to cross at a nearby roundabout and along a newly created footpath up to the Craven Heifer Inn.

An added advantage of combining these two options is a route which is virtually guaranteed cattle-free!

The two optional sections add little in overall distance.

A PDF guide and map is available to download from this website.

Download the Skipton Route Options here. Visit the Skipton Woods site here, and the Friends of Skipton Woods here.

6 August 2013

European award for Watershed Project

The South Pennines Watershed Landscape Project, which includes community archaeology projects on Rombalds Moor and Baildon Moor, has been awarded a prestigious Laureate Award from the European Union.

The 2013 Europa Nostra Awards in AthensThe Europa Nostra award was announced at a ceremony in Athens on June 16th, with a local ceremony for both professionals and community volunteers held at the Manor House Museum in Ilkley yesterday.

The judges noted: “The Jury thought the South Pennines Watershed Landscape a most imaginative project for raising awareness of a rich natural and archaeological heritage. Impressive in scale and multidisciplinary in approach, it tells fascinating stories, ensuring sustainable protection of the cultural landscape and enhancing regional development. It has turned a once disregarded area into a popular destination, attracting wide interest among the local population, from children to a range of ethnic groups. A high standard of academic research was matched by extensive publicity through diverse popular channels.”

Speaking after the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, which was held in the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, Community Archaeolgist Louise Brown said: “The Europa Nostra Congress in Athens was really good and I can report that, although we didn’t win a Grand Prix or the Public Choice Award, the Laureate that we have been awarded is very prestigious... indeed, we are regarded as exemplary across Europe! I also received lots of very good feedback about the project over the whole weekend. It was incredibly exciting that approximately 5000 people who were at the award ceremony saw a short film about the project!”

Examples of the prehistoric rock art on Rombalds Moor can be seen by walkers on the first stage of A Dales High Way.

See our previous report here, and the Watershed Landscapes website here.

21 July 2013

Dales High Way waymarking completed

Waymarking of the route of A Dales High Way has now Ingleborough waymarkbeen completed.

The final waymark was put up over Ingleborough by rangers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park in July.

The completion of the waymarking comes as A Dales High Way marks 5 years since it’s formal launch as a long distance trail. The first copy of A Dales High Way Route Guide was published in the summer of 2008.

The waymarks will help reassure walkers that they are on the right track, and point in the right direction at forks in the trail. But they should not be relied on to follow the trail on their own – a proper guide or map are essential, especially over the high fells were waymarks are few and far between.

The waymarking has been undertaken by volunteers from the Friends of A Dales High Way working with officers from Bradford Metropolitan District Council and North Yorkshire County Council, together with rangers from Cumbria County Council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The waymarks across the Yorkshire Dales National Park were the last to go up, after funding from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust was secured.

Julia Pearson, chair of the Friends said: "We were delighted when we heard that Friends of A Dales High Way had been awarded a Sustainable Development Fund grant from the YDNPA. We are a group of volunteers who support and promote the route of A Dales High Way and this grant has allowed us to produce a leaflet to let more people know about this fantastic walk. Waymarking the trail has been our priority this winter and we couldn't have completed the work without the help of the Rangers who put up the waymarks in the Park. Walkers setting off on A Dales High Way this year can look out for the distinctive logos as they cross the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales".

See our previous post here, down load the Dales High Way leaflet here, and join the Friends of A Dales High Way here.

10 July 2013

Dent Festival success

Forget Glastonbury. Dent Music and Beer festival Dent Festival 2013continues to grow - despite last year's deluge.

With local campsites booked to bursting point, this year's festival has proved even more popular than ever.

And in order to cater for day visitors this year, the Festival Committee laid on a minibus to carry visitors the 4½ miles from Dent railway station to the village. This was in addition to the normal Saturday bus service.

But when the Festival bus broke down, volunteers sprang to the rescue and ferried stranded visitors back and forth in their own cars. In the end, everyone seems to have made it home o.k.

The festival is run entirely by volunteers and is essentially free - the purchase of a £5 wristband is optional, but does give a £1-a-pint saving at the bar. And the festival still manages to raise significant funds that go back into village community projects.

It's the great community atmosphere that makes the Dent festival so attractive. Long may it continue!

See previous posting here, and the Festival website here.

1 July 2013

Community save vital services

The local community has stepped in to save vital services for walkers and visitors in Sedbergh and Dent.

The new Western Dales Bus service is launchedThis week saw the official opening of the community owned Sedbergh Tourist Information Centre by Carl Lis, Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).

It’s just over 18 months since the YDNPA agreed to sell the building and local people have been hard at work fundraising. Sedbergh White Knights are holding the building in trust while the Sedbergh & District Community and Heritage Trust raise enough money to secure the building for the community.

It has been transformed with a grant from the Big Lottery fund and will act as both Tourist Information Centre and a Your Dales Hub, providing local transport information for residents and visitors alike. The Hubs are supported by the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance (DITA), as part of their Dales Connect Project.

The Western Dales Bus is a new bus service set up by volunteers from neighbouring Dent with financial help from DITA. They have leased a 14 seater minibus from Cumbria County Council for a Saturday service, which will connect Dent Station with Dent village, Sedbergh and Kendal and be driven by volunteers. They have also contracted Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire to run a Sunday service through the summer to link Dent to Sedbergh and Hawes.

Jock Cairns, chairman of Western Dales Bus, said. “We hope to develop a range of services which will meet local needs, but which commercial operators are unable to run because they are not economic.”

As well as meeting local demand the bus, which will link with trains on the Settle-Carlisle line, will be especially welcomed by tourists and walkers visiting this beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales.

Picture shows Tim Farron MP and Jock Cairns launch the Western Dales Bus

See the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance (DITA) here, and the Visit Sedbergh site here.

14 June 2013

Wildflowers greet Spring arrival

At last spring has arrived, and an abundance of Wild garlic by the River Ribblewildflowers have come out to greet it.

At the end of the coldest spring for 50 years, the sun shone brightly on Dales High Way walkers in Crummackdale yesterday. Elaine’s farmhouse café at Feizor was heaving as people made their way up to the wonderful wildflower display at Wharfe and Oxenber Woods.

But everywhere there was a profusion of colour. Bird’s-eye primrose and early purple orchids lined the banks of Sulber Nick, bluebells and daisies crowded the tree-lined paths through Crummackdale, and masses of bright white wild garlic carpeted the wooded banks of the river Ribble.

Spring may be a month late, but now there’s no holding it back. So get out there and enjoy it.

See Andy Latham’s photos of Wharfe Woods and Oxenber Woods here, and Julia Pearson’s forum pics here.

1 June 2013

Peregrine Chicks at Malham Cove

There's excitement in the air at Malham Cove thanks to Fledgling Peregrine at Makahm Cove 2008 - Photo: Neil Aldridgesome very special arrivals – three recently hatched peregrine chicks.

Walkers on A Dales High Way can enjoy great views of the peregrine family through high-powered telescopes at a special, free viewpoint set up by the RSPB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).

Ian Court, the YDNPA's Wildlife Conservation Officer, said: "Now the chicks have hatched, the peregrine activity will increase over the coming weeks. The adult male will be hunting to feed his young family and once the chicks do not need as much protection, the adult female will soon be doing the same.

"When the peregrines are hunting and feeding, it's a great time for people to visit the site as there will be plenty of excellent opportunities to see these incredible birds."

Peregrines have recorded speeds of more than 200 miles an hour – about three times as fast as a cheetah – and watching them hunt is a wildlife spectacle not to be missed.

Ella Dixon, the RSPB's Yorkshire People Engagement Officer, said

"Peregrines started nesting at the cove 20 years ago and since then they have raised more than 40 young, so it's great to see this continue with the latest arrivals. We hope as many people as possible take up the opportunity to see the peregrines in the flesh."

The peregrine watch viewpoint will be open until 31 July and is run by RSPB and YDNPA staff and volunteers from Saturdays to Wednesday inclusive between 10.30am and 4.30pm (weather permitting).

See more about the Malham Peregrines here.

14 May 2013

Sun greets 3 Peaks winners

The sun came out to greet fell runners as they crossed the finish line for the 59th annual Three Peaks Fell Race today.

The start of the 2013 Three Peaks Fell Race

Joe Symonds repeated his victory of last year with an improved time over the 23-mile course of 2 hours, 54 minutes and 34 seconds: one minute and 2 seconds better than last year. Joe finished more than 5 minutes ahead of his nearest rival, Karl Bell of Keswick AC, having led the field from the start. He put the improved timing down to a back wind up to Pen-y-ghent, and the new improved track over Whitber Hill.

Joe Symonds crosses the finish lineThis year Joe was running for the Saloman International team – the main sponsors of the event.

Karl Gray of Calder Valley Fell Runners came third, setting a new record for the Over 40’s men’s veterans. Bingley Harrier’s Rob Jebb – winner in 2009, came fourth. Jasmin Parris of Carnethy Hill RC was the first woman to cross the line with a time of 3:33:04.

Horton-in-Ribblesdale was heaving as walkers taking on the 63-mile Fellsman Challenge were also in the area, crossing Ingleborough and Whernside on their way to finish at Threshfield in Wharfedale.

See our previous posting here. See the results here. See the Fellsman website here.

27 April 2013

April launch for Ride2stride 2

The second Ride2stride Walking Festival kicks off at the Steam train crosses Ribblehead Viaductend of this month with a packed programme of walks, talks and music along the world famous Settle to Carlisle railway line.

The week-long festival starts on Tuesday April 30th with a short launch ceremony on Settle station at 09.50 on arrival of the 08.49 train from Leeds.  After musical entertainment by members of the Settle Singing for Pleasure Ensemble and a few warm words from the Settle Town Mayor Joe Lord, walkers will have a choice of three walks which will leave the station platform together.

There are a number of free walks every day from stations along the line, including a historical and geological foray into Crummackdale on Thursday, a strenuous 18-mile hike to Malham Tarn on Saturday and an easy family story-walk around Settle on Sunday. Each night sees music sessions at different pubs along the line.

Other highlights of the festival include; ‘The Elgar Way’ - following in the footsteps of composer Edward Elgar and visiting some of the places he loved around Settle on Monday; tours of the industrial archaeological remains around Ribblehead Viaduct on Wednesday, Saturday and Monday; and ‘Thunder in the mountains’ – a talk by Bill Mitchell about life in the shanty towns during the building of the line – based on his book of the same name.

The festival is organised jointly by an ad-hoc committee representing a number of organisations including Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL), Friends of DalesRail (FDR), Yorkshire Dales Society, Settle-Carlisle Enterprise Network (SCENe), Skyware Press, and the 3 Peaks Folk Club.

Festival member Chris Grogan said “Last year was such a success we decided to repeat the same formula this year. Ride2stride is for everyone who loves the Yorkshire Dales. Whether you travel to an event by train, live along the line or book your holiday to take advantage of the festival, we're sure you'll have a great time.”

See the Ride2stride website here.

18 April 2013

Dales High Way Guestbook & Certificate

Nicola, manager of Appleby TIC with the new Dales High Way Guestbook and CertificateWalkers who finish A Dales High Way can now sign the DHW Guestbook and pick up a completer's Certificate, courtesy of the Appleby Tourist Information Centre.

The Tourist Information Centre is situated in the ancient Moot Hall at the foot of Boroughgate, right at the end of the long distance trail.

TIC manager Nicola said: "We've had a lot of people coming into the Centre after finishing walking A Dales High Way, looking for some momento of their achievement. We're very pleased now that we have the guestbook for them to sign, and we can print off a certificate for them too."

The TIC stocks a range of walking guides, books, maps and quality souvenirs and Made in Cumbria crafts, as well as information on local accommodation and services. There's also an Exhibition Room with monthly displays by local crafts people.

See the Appleby TIC here.

2 April 2013

Mysterious moorland structure is prehistoric

We still have no idea what this prehistoric structure on Mysterious Bronze Age walled oval feature on Stanbury HillBingley Moor is, but we now know it's 4,000 years old.

One of several features excavated over a 2-year period on Stanbury Hill, radio-carbon dating on hazelnut shells found in the bottom of this walled oval pit are dated between 2035-1895 BC; early Bronze Age.

Rombalds Moor is famous for its rich abundance of prehistoric Rock Art – most notably the mysterious cup & ring rocks. The Stanbury Hill Project was devised to comprehensively survey and investigate a section of the landscape which included several carved rock art panels.

Archaeologist Blaise Vyner said: “The monuments which have been examined speak of mysterious times, when the rocks were carved with symbols whose meaning is now lost, when everyday farming – perhaps more accurately described as ‘garden agriculture’ – was imbued with ritual.”

As well as detailed geophysical surveys, 6 sites were excavated – 3 cairns, 1 linear enclosure wall, 1 area around a carved panel, and the mysterious walled oval feature.

This amazing 5-year community archaeology project run by the Bingley & District Local Historical Society has just come to completion with the publication of a final report – a beautifully produced and informative book “Stanbury Hill Project: Archaeological Investigation of a Rock Art Site“. A final public presentation will take place on Saturday 27th April at Eldwick Village Memorial Hall, starting at 1 p.m.

As well as making important new inroads into our understanding of the prehistoric landscapes that are home to the enigmatic carved rock panels, the project has seen the hands-on training of over 60 volunteers in the whole process of archaeological investigation. “It’s been better than a university education” was how one volunteer described it.

The route of A Dales High Way crosses Rombalds Moor and passes a number of these prehistoric carved rocks.

See our previous post here, and see the Stanbury Hill Project website here.

17 March 2013

Development plans on Roman site withdrawn

Plans for a small housing development in Addingham, on Crossing Skipton Moor on the old "Roman Road"the line of the Roman road from Ilkley to Elslack, near Skipton, have been withdrawn without explanation.

The application to build seven houses on land to the south west of Addingham at Street House Farm, prompted the intervention of the West Yorkshire Archaeological Advisory Service (WYAAS), who asked Bradford Council to impose a condition that no development could take place until a programme of archaeological recording has been secured.

Archaeologists want to check for evidence of a Roman road on the site. The road, Roman Road 72a, is officially designated as a Class III Site of Archaeological Interest and WYAAS says the name “Street” suggests further evidence of a road.

The line of the Roman road is believed to run from Ilkley along “the Grove” and across to the south of Addingham, following a line still known as “the Street”, to pass Street Farm and Street House Farm. It then runs north west, crossing Skipton Moor by way of a green lane – a former toll road – known locally as “the Roman Road”.

To date though, no firm archaeological evidence for the road’s route has been found. The route of A Dales High Way follows this line from Addingham to Skipton.

Addingham Civic Society opposed the plans, which were submitted in September last year. Secretary Peter Wikinson said: “The proposal would have a serious impact on the group of listed buildings formerly comprising Street House Farm.”

It is not known if amended plans will be resubmitted.

Photo shows the "Roman Road" on Skipton Moor.

See the plans here. Find out more of the Romans in West Yorkshire here.

1 March 2013

25 years of Morris magic for the Flagcrackers

The Flagcrackers of Craven are marking their 25th anniversary this year, with a series of events across the region, including a Day of Dance in Skipton on 15 June.

The Flagrackers of Craven

A number of visiting teams from across the country are expected to join the Flagcrackers in presenting a marathon tour of dance displays.

Over the years the Flagcrackers have danced alongside hundreds of other sides at festivals all over the UK and abroad.  Now the team will be inviting some of their favourites along to share their birthday celebrations and to showcase their skills at this very special event.

Featuring every kind of morris dance traditional style; Cotswold, Longsword, Rapper, Garland, Border, Northwest and even some belly dancers, the teams will perform around Skipton town centre throughout the day, with a massed gathering at the canal basin at about 3pm.

Throughout the year the Flagcrackers also plan to put on displays of their own colourful, stick clashing Border morris dance at various iconic Yorkshire locations in Craven, including other spots on A Dales High Way - Ribblehead and the top of Malham Cove. 

Dick Taylor, founder and former Squire, said: "I wanted us to be different, I wanted us to entertain and I wanted us to have a big noisy band. I'm of the opinion that if you're going to go and dance in the street, you want an audience, and you've got to entertain them."

The Flagcrackers of Craven’s ethos is to retain traditional morris dances and evolve new ones, with a generous dash of entertainment value for spectators. The lively show they put on for their audiences at home and abroad throughout the summer months may look relaxed and spontaneous, but it is actually thoroughly rehearsed.

See the Flagcrackers website here, and see them in action at the Yorkshire Film archive here.

15 Feb 2013

Public Inquiry for Park Extension proposals

Plans to extend the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park The northern Howgill Fells will fall into the extension of the Dales National Parkand the Lake District National Park will be scrutinised at a Public Inquiry.

The move was inevitable following a number of objections from the local authorities affected. Minister for the natural environment Richard Benyon said Natural England’s proposals to extend the boundaries of the two parks would be examined at a four-week inquiry in June, with a pre-inquiry meeting to be held in March.

He told MPs: “Over 3,000 objections, representations or expressions of support were received in response to the proposals, including objections from five local authorities.

“It is a statutory requirement that a public inquiry is held if at least one local authority with land in a proposed extension raises an objection to a relevant variation order.”

The Inquiry, under the direction of Roy Foster, will open at 10.00 am on Tuesday 4 June 2013 at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.

The proposals for the Dales National Park will see extensions in two areas:

  • to the north, to include parts of the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang; and
  • to the west, to include Barbon, Middleton, Casterton and Leck Fells, the River Lune and, part of Firbank Fell and other fells to the west of the river.

Most of the final stages of A Dales High Way would fall into the area of the northern extensions, almost as far as Hoff, just before Appleby.

It is widely expected that the proposals will eventually be implemented.

See previous posting here. See details of the proposals here.

3 Feb 2013

Water Tower Restoration revisted

The restoration of the historic water tower at Settle station at the start Filming of the Restoration Man at Settle Water Towerof the famous Settle-Carlisle railway line is to be revisted for Channel 4 TV by architect George Clarke.

And the programme will feature the addition of a huge shed, believed to be one of the original shanty town sheds used to house the navvies who built the line in the 1870’s.

The new edition of Channel 4’s Restoration Man will be shown on Thursday, 31st January at 9 p.m.

The original programme was shown in February last year.

There was another surprise for Mark and Pat Rand, who have so lovingly restored the tower – an unannounced visit by former Transport minister Michael Portillo, the man who finally signed the reprieve of the line when it faced closure in the 1980’s.

Mark described the day’s filming: “We had a most enjoyable day covering in detail the latest developments with the shed, the summer house, the lift and the thing in general. We had a suspiciously long and relaxed lunch at The Lion and ambled back to the water tower. Pat and I were ushered into the kitchen whilst the film crew took general shots.

“Then the front door bell rang. I went to see who was it was and there stood Michael Portillo. You will have to see the programme to see what I said! They will have to cut out the expletives. It is slightly unnerving to answer your front door to find a sombre suited celebrity standing there.   Anyway it was very good of Michael to make time to be here.”

The afternoon ended amongst friends with champagne all round.

Photo shows Michael Portillo talking with Mark and Pat Rand and a FoSCL volunteer. To the right is Ruth Evans of FoSCL, author and DalesRail campaigner Colin Speakman, and our own Chris Grogan.

Watch the previous programme here. See the Water Tower blog here, and find out more of the line's history here.

22 January 2013

Contours adds Dales High Way walking holiday

Contours – the popular Derbyshire-based Walking Holiday organisers, Dramatic Limestone scenery in Malhamdale. Photo (c) Contours Walking Holidayshave added A Dales High Way to their promotions for 2013.

For a modest fee starting at just £395 per person the company will organise everything you need for your walking holiday, including Bed & Breakfast accommodation, guidebooks and maps, tour fact files and baggage transfer. All you need to think about is the walking!

The company specialise in organising flexible holidays – you can choose when to start, extend your holiday if you wish, and even include your dog.

Justine Kiddy for Contours said: “A Dales High Way is one of the best walks that we’ve encountered in the north of England in recent years. If you’ve walked the Dales Way and are looking for a new perspective, or you’re simply hoping to stretch out your legs in the New Year, the route offers wonderful scenery with something for everyone – quaint Dales towns and villages, intriguing historic locations, delightful wildlife and not to mention, mile upon mile of superb walking. We love it! ”

Contours joins companies Brigantes and Sherpa Van in offering complete Dales High Way walking holiday packages.

Read the Contours blog here and find details of the self-guided walking holiday here. See also Brigantes and Sherpa Van.

8 January 2013

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