The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has become the delegated Authority for the maintenance of public rights of way in the whole of the National Park, following the signing of an agreement with Lancashire County Council.
The agreement covers an area of north Lancashire around the village of Leck, including the county’s highest peak, Gragareth. The area became part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in 2016 when its boundary was extended.
A total of 16 km (10 miles) of public footpaths exist in the Lancashire part of the National Park and from the beginning of April, when the agreement came into effect, the National Park Authority has had responsibilities alongside landowners, farmers and tenants to maintain the routes. In all, the rights of way network in the National Park runs to 2,628 km.
Similar rights of way delegation agreements exist between the National Park Authority and Cumbria County Council and North Yorkshire County Council, with 28% of the area of the National Park being in Cumbria and 71% in North Yorkshire.
Lancashire County Councillor, Cosima Towneley, who is appointed by the Council to the National Park Authority, met Kate Hilditch, the Authority’s Area Manager who covers the Lancashire part of the National Park, near Leck to mark the handover (see picture).
Cosima Towneley said: “I think this is a great collaboration between Lancashire County Council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. I very much look forward to working with colleagues in the National Park to bring the network here up to the highest standard – a standard which I have to say is also being rolled out in the County of Lancashire. Unfortunately it is only footpaths at the moment, and I hope we can make it accessible to all users, be they on two feet, four hooves or a bicycle. Lancashire is just the most beautiful place on earth and that is said without any bias at all.”
Kate Hilditch added: “The difference that this agreement makes is that we will have the opportunity to work with the landowners and local communities on maintaining the rights of way on their land. Our first step is to get to know the people, then we will work through any maintenance issues. The agreement also gives us an opportunity to get to know the routes properly and collaborate with the County Council.”