WALKERS and runners in Burley-in-Wharfedale will find footpaths a little more accessible thanks to recent work by the village Walkers are Welcome group.

A joint working party in June with Lower Wharfedale Ramblers recently installed two kissing gates and undertook resurfacing work on the footpath network between Burley and Menston.

The work was in preparation for the closure of the path which currently uses the railway level crossing near to Holme Grove. The existing footpath is being diverted using a bridge underneath the railway line towards Menston. The route is also on the popular Welcome Way long distance path that links Burley with neighbouring Walkers are Welcome towns of Baildon, Bingley and Otley.

David Asher, Chairman of the group said: ‘We are pleased we were able to contribute to diverting the existing footpath away from the railway line. This was a steep and difficult crossing which put many people off using the route towards Menston and Bleach Mill Lane.

“Although the diverted route is not yet officially open, people are now able to use the path under the cattle arch, which we resurfaced and also sports two new gates replacing an unofficial and awkward stile.

“We had a busy June, as on a separate day we also worked with Lower Wharfedale Ramblers to replace a stile in Stead. This makes another stile free route between Ben Rhydding and Burley. As a group we are proud of the fact that 16 gates have now been installed since we were formed five years ago, mostly replacing wooden step stiles that were coming to the end of their life. This has made an important contribution towards Burley becoming a much more accessible place for many groups of people, including those with restricted mobility, families with young children, and runners and walkers with dogs.

“We still have a few more stiles in our sights, along with other improvement projects in the pipeline designed to get more people into the countryside.

“If you are interested in getting involved with future working parties, or in finding out details of the group’s activities including our popular monthly three and five mile walks, please get in touch.”

Burley Walkers are Welcome can be contacted by email at burleywalkersarewelcome@gmail.com or through their website www.waw-burleyinwharfedale.org/. Thirteen walks are being provided during the Burley Summer Festival which runs from August 17 to August 24. Bookings for all festival activities can be made at Burley Library starting from Saturday, July 20 from 10am to noon. They can also be made on-line at the Festival website www.burleysummerfestival.org/ starting from 2pm on the same day.