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Yorkshire Dale bridleway saved from closure

Yorkshire Dale bridleway saved from closure

Thanks to the legal expertise of the Byways and Bridleways Trust, another bridleway has been saved from wrongful closure.

Bridleway 28, Marrick, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, is recorded on the definitive map and statement of public rights of way as passing right through the stone walls of a church standing within the area of the former Marrick Priory, near Reeth, North Yorkshire.

Nobody suggests that the bridleway ever did run here, and when the definitive map was first made almost 60 years ago, the Parish Survey recorded the route running northwards to the road, and passing just to the west of the Priory site. Quite clearly, some sort of drafting error had occurred, and it needed a 'definitive map modification order' to put it right by moving the bridleway back on to the survey line.

Yorkshire Dale bridleway saved from closureIn 2007 the late Brian Thompson, a local associate of the Byways and Bridleways Trust, spotted this problem and reported it to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority for action to put it right. The YDNPA certainly moved quickly, but instead of an order to correct the alignment, made instead an order just to delete the section of bridleway through the Priory site, leaving a useless cul-de-sac, stopping short of the public road by about 50 yards.

The Trust, the British Horse Society, and a person with a particular local interest, objected, and the Secretary of State appointed Independent Inspector Mark Yates to hold a public inquiry in Reeth on 1 March 2011. Mr Yates refused (7 April 2011) to confirm the order, saying that the evidence does indeed point to the bridleway being a through route on the original surveyed line.

The Byways and Bridleways Trust was shocked that the YDNPA should make a deletion order in the first place, when the essential legal tests, and the background evidence, pointed so strongly to a simple drafting error needing correction, and questions should be asked why. This flawed order has wasted many thousands of pounds at a time when local authority budgets are being squeezed hard.

The Trust calls on the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to regain its credibility by moving swiftly to make an order to put the bridleway on the correct line, as surveyed by the Parish, back in the early 1950s.

I pine for a more sensible approach to saving our forests

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