Conservationists battle to bridge Pennine Bridleway gap
Thursday 16th February 2017 @ 10:42 by Adam Higgins
Charlesworth Community Derbyshire Glossop Chronicle Tintwistle

Conservationists are battling to bridge a gap in the Pennine Bridleway and bring tourists flocking to Glossopdale.

The 205-mile track goes from Kirkby Stephens in the Yorkshire Dales to Middleton in the Peak National Park.

But horse riders, cyclists and walkers arriving at Monks Road in Charlesworth are finding the trail suddenly ends.

It starts up again two-and-a-half miles away at the other side of Tintwistle but not many riders fancy dodging heavy traffic to get to the village.

Bridging the gap, however, could cost as much as £1.6m.

Charlesworth SPEED Bridleway group chair Peter Cooper (pictured) thinks it would be money well spent.

He claims cash to pay for the final two per cent of the bridleway is in place and by using a different route would make it a lot cheaper.

Peter said: “It would complete the bridleway, more people would then use it. It would boost tourism, local shops and businesses would get extra trade. People would stay over-night, stable their horses in the area.

“It’s something they can’t do at the moment because it’s only 98 per cent complete. There is no safe alternative route for horse riders at Glossop so the trail cannot be promoted. Therefore businesses along the route are not benefitting.”

Mr Cooper’s group is supported in its aims by Peak Horse Power and a local access group, while Natural England is also fully committed.

The three attended a meeting in Charlesworth together, with representatives of National Trails, British Horse Society and Peak National Park to move things forward.

All agreed to talk to Derbyshire County Council as the highways authority.

The proposals to bring the bridleway together could come in three stages – from Monks Road to Hargate Hill gates, Simmondley to Dinting Arches, then onto Tintwistle.

But it wouldn’t be easy as one stretch would involve building a bridge.

A council spokeswoman said the Derbyshire stretch was being implemented by the county council on behalf of Natural England, which is responsible for grant aiding all the work.

She said: “Unfortunately final work around Glossop had coincided with widespread public spending cuts which resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of money which Natural England was able to offer to the authority each year and considerable uncertainty about the continued availability of funding.”

She continued: “It is this and the delays in confirming any funding until the late summer/early autumn which makes it extremely difficult to plan ahead as work on the project has to stop until there is a new grant offer in place.

“This results in the route being developed in a piecemeal fashion, with any construction having to be carried out during the winter months, which is inefficient both in terms of value for money and the length of times.

“It is estimated that a further £1.6m of capital funding is needed to construct the remaining sections of the trail and the authority is currently exploring other possible sources of funding in conjunction with Natural England.”

 

By David Jones