Ravenstonedale Kirkby Stephen Cumbria

Ravenstonedale Parish Council. Footpaths and Bridleways

Ravenstonedale to Newbiggin-on-Lune Pedestrian/Cycleway

Offical Opening was Saturday 10th March 2012 at 12 Noon

The Cycleway Saga

The idea of constructing a footpath/cycleway alongside the busy A685 road was mooted originally as a Millennium project.  (Seems like a thousand years ago now).

Prior to 1979 when the A685 trunk road was constructed to connect the then new M6 motorway at Tebay to the A66 trunk road at Brough the old road meandered gently through the villages on its way to Kirkby Stephen and Brough.  When the new road was built, partly along the route of a former railway line, it bypassed several hamlets leaving some quiet byways in between.

The villages of Ravenstonedale and Newbiggin-on-Lune, both within Ravenstonedale Parish, were bypassed by the new road but no provision was made for pedestrian access between the two.  This has meant that, among other things, the children from Newbiggin require transport to school for want of about 600 metres of footpath.

In 1998 Ravenstonedale Millennium Committee, backed by Sustrans, et al, persuaded Cumbria Highways to plan a scheme for a combined footpath/cycleway for the 600M alongside the main road.  The scheme was costed at that time by Highways at £40,000.

The Millennium came and went and R-dale waited patiently for its cycleway, assuming that the scheme was somewhere on the County’s “to do” list.  The Millennium Committee disbanded having performed its function and all remained quiet.  Following local council elections in 2003, new parish councillors who had served on the Millennium Committee enquired as to the progress of the cycleway.  By that time Cumbria Highways had contracted out all its highway work to Capita and Amey.  Nobody admitted to having any knowledge of the scheme but fortunately the paperwork had been preserved locally and it was passed to the parish council to follow up.

The major problem was, of course, funding.  To that end the parish council decided on a bit of self-help and added £1,000 to its annual budget each subsequent year towards the cost with the hope of attracting matching funding from outside bodies.

To further enhance the scheme the idea of incorporating the cycleway into the expanding National Cycle Network was conceived.  A quiet, scenic 10 mile east-west route between two north-south cycleways requires only the missing 600 metres to complete it.  The N-S route from Dent to Kirkby Stephen could be left at Pendragon Castle, travelling westwards via Lytheside, Ravenstonedale, Newbiggin-on-Lune, Sunbiggin Tarn (AONB), Raisbeck and on to the village of Orton where it meets the Sedbergh to Appleby N-S cycle route.

The scheme was recommended for approval by Cumbria’s Eden Area Committee and  now, thirteen years after its inception, tenacity has paid off. 

Particular thanks are due to County Councillor Peter Thornton who has championed this project for the benefit of the local community and Rob Lawley at Cumbria Highways for his support and organisation of the constructon.

Chris Elphick,
Clerk to Ravenstonedale Parish Council
015396 20605 
6th March 2012

Claiming Public Paths

The Open Spaces Society has issued a reminder that commonly used paths that are not on the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way will be lost unless communities take action. Communities need to gather information about routes that have been used without permission and without being stopped for at least 20 years so that they can be recorded on the definitive map.