Hopes to extend Nidderdale Greenway rail trail to Scar House Reservoir near Pateley Bridge

A survey has been launched to assess the popularity of extending the Nidderdale Greenway to Scar House Reservoir north of Pateley Bridge.
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The idea to build an off-road path between Harrogate and Nidderdale was first proposed in 1996.

In 2014, the first four-mile section of the greenway was opened between Nidd Gorge in Bilton and Ripley and it’s proved to be a popular route for cyclists, wheelchair users, horse riders and pedestrians.

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Backed by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, the route follows an old railway track and extending it deeper into Nidderdale could give more parts of the area an economic boost, like how Ripley has benefited from the first section.

A survey has been launched to assess the popularity of extending the Nidderdale Greenway to Scar House ReservoirA survey has been launched to assess the popularity of extending the Nidderdale Greenway to Scar House Reservoir
A survey has been launched to assess the popularity of extending the Nidderdale Greenway to Scar House Reservoir

But an extension is problematic due to the fact that some of the tracks have now been built on.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale, Andrew Murday, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that discussions with landowners between Dacre Banks and Pateley Bridge revealed difficulties as it would require North Yorkshire Council to pay a a substantial amount of money up front to establish rights of way.

For example, he said creating a path along a former railway line in Upper Wensleydale is likely to cost the council several hundred thousand pounds.

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He hopes the survey by action group the Hampsthwaite Pathfinders will show the public are behind the plans so it can be brought before North Yorkshire Council.

Councillor Murday said public money wouldn’t be used to built the path, that would come from Sustrans to the tune of between £10m-£15m.

He said: “I know there are economic problems in the country.

"People have said how can we afford to do this when people can’t afford to eat but in my own personal view, if this exists in 30 years’ time, people will say — it’s great.”

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The results will be published next month.