Burley-in-Wharfedale, Menston, Otley, Pool-in-Wharfedale
Introduction to the Wharfedale Greenway
Traffic free greenways are unique spaces for commuting, leisure trips and for experiencing wildlife whilst travelling by foot, bike, or wheelchair. A well maintained surfaced pathway within a green corridor, typically a disused railway line, wide enough to allow users to pass and where gradients are kept to a minimum to suit all levels of fitness. They are best understood by experiencing them first hand with nearby examples including the Aireborough Greenway (Yeadon to Guiseley), the Nidderdale Greenway (Harrogate to Ripley) and The Harland Way (Spofforth to Wetherby).
The Pool-in-Wharfedale, Otley, Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale cycleway feasibility study was prepared by Sustrans in 2010 for Otley Town Council. The brief was to assess the scope for improving walking and cycling routes to, through and around the town. Unsurprisingly, the study highlighted the opportunity to create a series of greenways along extant sections of the former Arthington to Burley-in-Wharfedale railway (closed in 1965) to provide primary walk/cycle routes to Menston and Burley stations, as well as a planned new station at Arthington. The report was taken through a number of Town Council committee stages and Sustrans was asked to request comments from Leeds City Council cycle development officers, and notify private landowners affected by the proposals before undertaking any formal public consultation. The timing of the 2010 study was unfortunate in that it coincided with substantial cuts in public funding and Leeds City Council requested time to complete work on urban-Leeds sections of the city’s cycle network before reviewing further greenway proposals in the rural townships.
The announcement in early 2013 of the Tour de France Grande Depart from Leeds in July 2014, created a renewed acknowledgement of the interest in and importance of safe cycling across the whole City Region. In the autumn of 2013 a steering group was formed involving Otley Town Council, Burley-in- Wharfedale Parish Council, Menston Parish Council, Pool-in-Wharfedale Parish Council, Bradford City Council, Leeds City Council and Sustrans. There was a desire to see a safe route for walking and cycling linking the parishes together. It was decided to follow the recommendation made in the 2010 report and put forward the old railway corridor, to be named the Wharfedale Greenway, as the proposed route.
The steering group would now like to consult with the local community to determine the general level of support and to use the hopefully positive findings of this consultation to secure the funding required to deliver this amenity. There hasn’t been any revisions to the original report but additional information is included beforehand which adds extra details and alternative options to the originally proposed route alignment and possible phases of construction.