Welcome Way Improvements on Burley Moor
In 2017 Volunteers from Walkers are Welcome groups in Burley in Wharfedale and Otley joined employees from Bradford Countryside and Rights of Way Service to install footpath walkways across three becks on Burley Moor between Great Skirtful of Stones and Horncliffe Well. The footpath is part of the 28 mile Welcome Way, a long-distance route developed in 2016 connecting the Walkers are Welcome communities of Otley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, and Baildon. An eight-mile loop also connects Bingley which became a Walkers are Welcome town last year.
Money to pay for the materials had been donated from Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust, West Yorkshire Long Distance Walkers Association and West Riding Ramblers, as well as funds from Walkers are Welcome.
The impetus for the project came from the Walkers are Welcome groups. They were able to source and raise the necessary funding and in turn contacted Bradford Countryside and Rights of Way Service who organised the necessary permissions and provided the expertise and labour to get the work underway. This joint effort has resulted in major improvements to the Welcome Way which at this section is coincident with the long-established Bradford Millennium Way.
John Sparshatt, who coordinated the project to create the Welcome Way and who was also one of the volunteers installing the walkways said ‘This section of the path desperately needed some improvement, especially given the extra use following publication of the Welcome Way guide book last summer. Walkers and runners will now find it easier to cross the becks and enjoy the beautiful landscape on this part of the moor. We are very grateful to our sponsors and to all the preparation and logistical support provided by Bradford Council. Local gamekeepers also helped move materials to the site which was a great help. We hope to undertake further improvement work on the route over time using funding from booklet sales’. The guide to the Welcome Way can be purchased from book shops in Otley and Ilkley, a range of other outlets including in Burley and Bingley and from the website www.welcomeway.org.uk.