Consultation on bid to join bridleways in Harrogate’s Crimple Valley
Last updated Mar 18, 2022
The patch of land which is holding up the creation of a new linking bridleway
A small patch of land has delayed hopes of linking up bridleways in the Crimple Valley. Photo courtesy of the Opening Up Crimple Valley group.

A decade-long bid to join two bridleways on the rural edges of Harrogate could finally come to fruition this year. 

North Yorkshire County Council is consulting on a creation order, which would enable it to join up bridleways 61 and 129 in the Crimple Valley. 

The link between the two would be created via a stretch of former railway line on the Rudding Park estate, which its owners agreed could be designated a bridleway in 2014. 

Sue Rigby, who represents the Byways and Bridleways Trust and has been involved in the Opening Up Crimple Valley campaign from the outset, told the Stray Ferret: 

“The whole point of the Rights of Way Network is that it is a network and it makes sense. It’s a much-needed and historic route and it was there long before any of us. 

“Particularly for riders, they are extremely brave to use the roads around there. The riding school takes disabled children out too. To have somewhere for them to go rather than into the road is so important.” 

The current proposal, which would create a circular route, has been widely supported by walkers, horse riders and countryside organisations. However, it has been held up because of a piece of land, measuring just a couple of metres wide, which would be needed to create the final link. 

The owner has so far refused to give permission for the bridleway to cross the 2m stretch of land. People using bridleway 61 alongside the Crimple Viaduct continue to find the path comes to an abrupt halt before it joins the former railway. 

A map showing bridleways in the Crimple Valley

Bridleway 61 (blue) and bridleway 129 (orange) could be joined by a stretch of former railway line on the Rudding Park estate (green) despite objections over a short stretch of land (red).

Mark Mackaness, owner of the Rudding Park estate, who has worked with the council and local supporters to plan the bridleway link, expressed his frustration that the process had taken so long and was still not complete. 

“This is a tragic example of maladministration and waste of public funds over the eight years since the creation order was first made.” 

Ms Rigby said everyone involved was very grateful for Mr Mackaness and the Rudding Park estate’s generosity. Now, she hoped the struggles of the last decade could be set aside and the aim could finally be achieved.

“People lose faith in the system when things don’t work, especially with something as obvious as this. But we are now all positive and hopeful for the future.”

‘Long-standing issue’

Michael Leah, NYCC’s assistant director for travel, environmental and countryside, said: 

“We are currently carrying out a consultation to inform a decision on whether to make a creation order under s26 of the Highways Act 1980. 

“If made, the order would record a short length of bridleway to connect bridleway no 61, which runs under and alongside the Crimple Viaduct, with bridleway no 129, which runs along a section of old railway line and was dedicated as a public right of way by the Rudding Park Estate. 

“This has been a long-standing issue, and a decision will be made once all views have been considered as part of the consultation.” 

The consultation currently being held over the creation order closes on Tuesday, March 22. Anyone who wants to take part can email their views to NYCC’s definitive map officer Ron Allan at [email protected]. 

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