Ford perfect after ‘missing link’ restored

A new bridge crosses the ford
A new bridge crosses the ford

An ancient ford is passable once more thanks to the work of staff at the North York Moors National Park.

The horse ride and between Goathland and Beck Hole fell out of favour after an old ford became impassable at certain times of the year.

A portion of the restored bridleway

A portion of the restored bridleway

Ride Yorkshire’s Bill Tait said the tricky river crossing was putting people off from that journey. He added: “The new bridge is wonderful and, coupled with the other bridleway work, has made a vast difference to riding around Goathland.”

Changes in water levels and the movement of a large boulder down stream had meant the ford became so difficult to pass that local horse riders approached the National Park Authority asking for help to re-establish the connection.

A short section of the bridleway was diverted to connect to a nearby footbridge and over two weeks, the authority’s field staff widened the bridge to accommodate walkers, horses and cyclists. Signs have been put in place to guide users along the new route.

Naomi Green is a senior ranger with the North York Moors and she said: “This restoration work brings a historic bridleway back into use and means that walkers, cyclists and horse riders can now enjoy a fantastic circular route from Goathland.”

The work links with improvements carried out on a bridleway between Hazel Head and Hunt House also near Goathland, which involved widening and draining the wet, eroded and overgrown lane to provide a better walking and riding experience.

The work is part of a Missing Links Project which is re-establishing routes in the North York Moors that have been missing on the ground for many years for a variety of reasons. Working alongside the county council, funding has been secured from the Department for Transport.

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The Missing Links Project is creating and improving six routes in the Esk Valley for walkers, cyclists and horse riders that connect with the Esk Valley Railway and Esk Valley Hopper services.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Gareth Dadd said: Small projects liked these, when linked to public transport services, can give tourism in the area a big boost. Linking high quality walking routes with ample car parking on the edge of the park can encourage people to get out of their cars and explore the national park on foot.”