Bilton to Ripley. 27.8.19

I used to be the vicar of Bilton in North Harrogate, this was back in the 1990s! A favourite dog walk in this distant days was down to and along the River Nidd and through the woodland along its banks. The viaduct that crosses it at the point was then barred to the public (health and safety etc!), but it marked the passage some years back of the Barber Line, a small railway line that carried coal to, or perhaps from, Pately Bridge. In recent years part of that route has been re-opened and made into a very pleasant walk to the village of Ripley with its castle and grounds and various attractions. It’s a return walk of some 6/7 miles on a good tarmac surface, and was very enjoyable (as was the lunch we had in the castle cafe!).

There is a possible threat to its future, as one of the pictures indicates – North Harrogate badly needs a by-pass as anyone who has driven more than once along the Skipton Road will attest. One possible route would carve up a substantial hunk both of the footpath and of the surrounding countryside. I understand though, and admittedly this is somewhat anecdotal, that good sense might have prevailed and forced the conclusion that while there needs to be a route, it mustn’t be this one! Time will tell. Meanwhile it’s a delightful little walk.

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