The National Park Authority and the local community have pulled together to improve access on the rail trail on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
The Rail Trail is a linear route combining a short journey along the railway with an easy access 1.5 mile walk from Beckhole to Esk Valley, along the route of George Stephenson’s original 1836 railway line.
The work on the route was carried out by the Community Access Project, which seeks to improve footpaths and other rights of way around and between communities in the North York Moors.
Access to the Rail Trail near the bridge at Beck Hole was far from ideal for those with buggies or people with impaired mobility. Now, thanks to some hard work by the local community and the National Park Authority’s staff and volunteers, it’s much more accessible.
The Beckhole Woodland and Heritage Foundation, with the support of Goathland Parish Council, were keen for as many people to access the Rail Trail and the easy access section of the footpath to learn more about the history and culture of the local area.
Local parishioners and National Park Authority volunteers, rangers and field staff carried out surface work along a 300 metre section which included revetment work, path edging and stabilisation work to stop the path from further erosion.
Local people also helped put a hard wearing surface down which was topped off with cinder and ash from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
The community will help maintain the route, litter picking and cutting back any overgrown vegetation.
A timber and stone resting area overlooking the Murk Esk was also created in keeping with the natural beauty of the area. Also three gates on the rail trail that were no longer needed were removed and re-used elsewhere in the National Park.
This simple project should make a big difference to many people and has also taught both local people and some of the authorities volunteers new skills in path construction and maintenance.
Funded by the National Park Authority and the North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme and access improvements have been identified either through parish plans or discussions with the Authority.
Each community will benefit from up to £5,000 to improve signage and promotion of the routes, create better access for people with disabilities by removing barriers, install seating, manage vegetation and improve the surface conditions and drainage.
You can pick up an illustrated guide to the rail trail for £1.50 with information on the industrial and cultural heritage of the area, it is available at The Moors National Park Centre at Danby and online at: www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/shop.