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Better access to Gordale Scar

[Thursday 22 January 2009]

THE awesome splendour of Gordale Scar in Malhamdale will soon be opened up to everyone thanks to a huge project to improve access.

Improved access to Gordale Scar
Cat Kilner on a section of the track.
Photo:Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Until now, the path through the gorge up to its spectacular waterfall has been unsuitable for wheelchair users and the less able.

But work by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) to resurface the path, improve drainage and clear away fallen scree is virtually finished and it should be ready for use by the end of the month (January).

Cat Kilner, the YDNPA’s Area Ranger for Malhamdale and Lower Ribblesdale, has been responsible for the improvement project, which has involved a helping hand from many groups along the way, including many YDNPA rangers and Dales Volunteers, Duke of Edinburgh Scheme participants and a day’s work from a group from Open Country, a Harrogate-based registered charity that enables people with disabilities get out into the countryside.

Although Gordale has always been more accessible than many areas in Malhamdale, the improvements will mean it will be much easier for everyone

Cat Kilner - YDNPA

“Although Gordale has always been more accessible than many areas in Malhamdale, the improvements will mean it will be much easier for everyone to reach the base of the waterfall,” she said.

“The path is often virtually washed out in heavy rain so we have improved the drainage to prevent this happening in the future. Another problem was that it was rather steep at one point so we have reduced the gradient there.

“We also have a problem with scree falling onto the path so we have organised a set of volunteers to regularly patrol the route and remove it – which means it should always be accessible.

“Gordale waterfall is a spectacular limestone feature with an apron of delicate tufa rock on its face that is created by calcium carbonate from the stream being deposited. It is only right that this area should be available for everyone to view.”

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