The trail links the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Saltaire and Fountains Abbey as well as passing through countryside in Bradford District and North Yorkshire. The launch event at Bradford Cathedral from 9am to 10am is open to all and celebrates the publication of a 56-page fully illustrated route guide.
David Asher, Secretary of the Burley Bridge Association, said: “The Yorkshire Heritage Way visits some of the most iconic historical sites in Yorkshire whilst walking through some of the best scenery the county has to offer, including the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“Linking the centre of Bradford, one of the grandest cosmopolitan cities in the north of England with Ripon, one of the smallest and prettiest, the route also connects two of Yorkshire’s amazing World Heritage sites as well as two beautiful and historic cathedrals.”
The launch event also marks the start of a guided four-day inaugural walk of the trail, starting immediately after the launch ceremony.
Finishing at Ripon Cathedral on Monday May 2, the walk coincides with the 1350th celebration of the founding of the Cathedral, and walkers will be invited to participate in the Beer Festival that day, as part of the weekend of festivities.
A community grant from the Department for Transport’s Capability Fund delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has contributed half of the costs for developing the trail and publishing the route guide.
Other contributors include Burley in Wharfedale Parish Council, Burley in Wharfedale Community Trust and the Long Distance Walkers Association.
Saltaire village is an outstanding example of a mid-nineteenth century model town demonstrating the social and economic impact of the textile industry, while Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruins of a Cistercian monastery in England.
Mr Asher added: “The route takes the walker through wildlife rich urban green corridors, stunning wooded valleys, alongside tranquil streams and rivers, across upland moor landscapes with extensive views, and past dramatic geological formations such as Brimham Rocks.
“There are many bridges to cross, including the thirteenth century Butterton Bridge built by Fountains Abbey monks which is featured on the waymarks along the route.
“The importance of constructing a bridge over the Wharfe at Burley will also be highlighted through providing a stronger link between communities and making attractions of the area accessible to a wider range of people all year round regardless of the river level.
“Whether walking, running or making a pilgrimage, the Heritage Way provides a bridge between the best of urban and rural Yorkshire.”
Those wishing to take part in the four-day walk should register beforehand, especially if wishing to book a place on the minibus transport arrangements being organised for the second, third and fourth days.
The itinerary will be:
Friday 29 April, Stage 1. Bradford Cathedral to Saltaire. 4.5 miles Departs 10.00
Friday 29 April, Stage 2. Saltaire to Burley in Wharfedale. 8.5 miles Departs 1.00 pm
Saturday 30 April, Stage 3: Burley in Wharfedale to Thruscross 10 miles: Departs 10.00
Sunday 1 May, Stage 4: Thruscross to Brimham Rocks: 8 miles: Departs 10.00
Monday 2 May, Stage 5: Brimham Rocks to Ripon: 11 miles: Departs 10.00
A limited number of minibus places will be available to bring walkers back to Burley railway station on Saturday afternoon, and from Burley station to starting points on Sunday and Monday in time for the beginning of the walk.
Return transport will be provided to Burley station at the end of each afternoon.
A small contribution will be asked from walkers to cover transport costs. Burley in Wharfedale has frequent trains to and from Leeds, Bradford and Ilkley, and is linked by bus to Ilkley, Leeds and Harrogate.
Those wishing to register for one or more days walking should send names and phone numbers to [email protected] This is especially important if transport is required to walk Stages 3, 4 or 5. Full details will then be provided.