A RAMBLERS group has repaired two stiles on a popular footpath linking the centre of Bramhope with Crag House Farm.

As well as being popular with families, dog walkers and joggers, the route is also well used by organised walking groups from outside the area and railway enthusiasts, as the path follows the route of the famous Bramhope Tunnel.

The biggest challenge was the stile located by the historic Sighting Tower on Moor Lane. This was so rotten that it had to be completely replaced and the fencing surrounding it reinforced. As the stile is so close to the busy road, any group of walkers queuing to cross could be placed in a dangerous situation. The Ramblers Lower Wharfedale working party cleared a large area between the road and the stile to create more waiting room and laid hardcore to improve the drainage.

Richard Brook who leads the Ramblers Lower Wharfedale footpath working party said: "As a local resident who knows this path well, I was delighted that the local Ramblers were given the opportunity by Leeds City Council to repair and improve these stiles. We work with the local councils in Leeds, Bradford and North Yorkshire, who often provide the materials, whilst the Ramblers provide the volunteers, tools and expertise. We have received very positive feedback on our work from the council and we hope it may lead to similar opportunities in the future."

The local Ramblers are working with North Yorkshire County Council to support their new Path Keeper initiative. The scheme is designed to encourage local groups to adopt designated footpaths in their area to keep them clear of undergrowth and other natural obstacles.

After reading an article about the initiative in the Wharfedale Observer earlier this year one Bramhope resident contacted the local Ramblers Footpath Officer, Antonia Woosnam-Savage, to say he was inspired to singly-handled clear the footpath from the old station house in Arthington to Staircase Lane in Bramhope.

His efforts, combined with the Ramblers stile repairs, means people can now walk from Arthington to Crag House Farm along cleared footpaths and safe stiles. The Ramblers are hoping to work with the Parish Council to extend the Path Keeper scheme to other popular footpaths in the Bramhope and Carlton area.

A spokesman said: "You don’t have to be a Rambler’s member to report a broken stile or footpath issue. Simply send an email to footpaths@lowerwharfedaleramblers.co.uk and it will be followed up with the relevant local authority. A photo, description of the issue and details of the location are very helpful in assessing the seriousness of the problem. Enquiries regarding the Path Keeper scheme should be sent to the same email address."