A 38-mile trail devised by an Otley walking group three years ago has been hailed an “outstanding” success.
The Six Dales Trail from Otley to Middleham was opened in June 2010 by celebrity rambler Janet Street-Porter as part of Otley Walking Festival.
Designed by a steering committee of Walkers are Welcome – Otley, the route stretches from Wharfedale to Wensleydale and runs the entire length of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The trail has received local and national praise from the likes of The Independent newspaper for leading walkers through “some of the most glorious countryside in the Yorkshire Dales” – to the delight of its creators.
Walkers are Welcome – Otley steering committee member John Sparshatt, author of the 48-page Six Dales Trail booklet, is also pleased with how sales have gone, with 1,800 sold to date.
He said: “Three years on and, whether they are out for a day’s walking or are intent on completing the entire route, the trail is proving an ideal way for walkers of all ability ranges to enjoy the hidden delights of North Yorkshire and experience the unforgettable beauty of these six very different Dales landscapes.
“Many hundreds of walkers have now completed either the entire route or various sections, which is clearly signposted and way-marked.
“And, with the co-operation of North Yorkshire County Council, new stiles, fingerposts, roundels and bridges have been installed at strategic points along the way and a damaged riverbank repaired.
“Footfall along the route is now clearly evident and its many paths are regularly checked, maintained and improved.
“Scenic variety is one of the outstanding features – with fast- flowing rivers, peaceful reservoirs, lush forests, wide open spaces, vast moorlands, historic castles, ruined abbeys and quaint villages.”
In a further sign the trail is here to stay, Ordnance Survey has agreed to have it marked on 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scale maps.
The guide is available online at sixdalestrail.org.uk