A LONG running campaign to build a bridge over the River Wharfe in Burley-in-Wharfedale continues as the stepping stones have been inpassable this month.

The stepping stones are a public right of way linking Burley with Askwith and the extensive footpath network in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Although often passable during the summer months, this has not been possible for some weeks due to the high river level.

The long-running campaign to build a footbridge to create a safe all year round crossing of the river has gained momentum recently following planning permission being renewed by both Harrogate and Bradford Councils, and both North Yorkshire and Bradford Councils indicating they are prepared to consider using their statutory powers to enable to project to be completed.

David Asher, trustee with the Burley Bridge Association said: “It has proved almost impossible for people in Burley to cross the stepping stones this month due to the amount of rain we have had. Given the extensive network of footpaths that start from the other side of the river towards Ilkley, Otley, Weston, Denton and beyond it has been a shame that runners and walkers have been denied the chance to cross. Paul Burgess, manager of Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty whose southern border is the River Wharfe, gave a fascinating talk at our AGM about all the scenic and historical delights awaiting people who fancy a change of direction by crossing the river, encouraging more people to walk into Nidderdale. However, the stones have been covered more days than not ever since! Many people in Burley are unaware of the interesting places and beautiful views and countryside that can be easily reached on the other side of the river, and with the Askwith Arms now re-opened in Askwith and Cockpit Farm tea rooms in nearby Weston, there are great places for refreshments as well.”

The Burley Bridge Association is holding one of their regular concerts to raise funds towards the construction of the bridge on Saturday (June 29) when the locally based Fairfax Singers will perform at the Methodist Church, starting at 7.30pm. The evening will also feature 15 year old guest soprano, Maddy Podesta. Ticket cost £10 and are available from the Coffee Station in Burley, and Just Books in Ilkley and Otley. They can also be purchased on line at ticketsource.co.uk/burley-bridge-association. Light refreshments will be provided.

Visit www.burleybridge.com for more information.