[A] new off-road path has been officially opened for cyclists and walkers to travel safely between the villages of Hawkshead and Near Sawrey.
The Claife Community Bridleway has been six years in the making, and was called for by residents on safety grounds in their community led plan. Claife Parish Council has hailed the opening of the much needed off-road path and has appealed to landowners who chose not to let it cross their land, to think again, so that it can be fully completed.
The new bridleway, which officially opened last Friday, covers over half of the two mile route between Near Sawrey and Hawkshead, allowing walkers and cyclists to go mostly off-road along Esthwaite Water for the first time, partly plugging a gap in the Lake District’s path network.
The path, costing £75,000, has been paid for by the National Trust, the Lake District National Park Authority, South Lakeland District Council and Claife Parish Council. It was flagged as a priority in the Claife Community Led Plan (CLP) published five years ago.
It runs through land owned by the National Trust and Claife Parish Council, but has to return to the road in some places because private landowners chose not to let it on their land.
Claife Parish Councillor, Anne Brodie, said: “70% of residents, who answered the CLP questionnaire, said a path to Hawkshead was a priority for safety reasons. We hope that now they can see how the path benefits everyone, reluctant landowners will change their minds and let us finish the job.”
Cllr Brodie said: “The fenced path separates walkers from the traffic and from farmland. It makes the road along Esthwaite Water safer for everyone – motorists included. And it opens up some lovely views of Esthwaite Water and the fells.”
Lake District National Park Area Ranger, Sara Spicer said: “We are delighted to see this new bridlepath open for use. It has been a fantastic project working with Claife Parish Council and the National Trust to help them deliver a new safe off-road route. It will also provide a useful link to the new bridleway between Hawkshead and Wray that we developed a few years ago.”
General Manager for the National Trust in the South Lakes, John Moffat, said: “We’re really happy that the new path is now fully complete and gets people off most of the road. We hope it will encourage walkers and cyclists to enjoy this scenic route between the village of Hawkshead and Hill Top in Near Sawrey; a landscape which inspired Beatrix Potter herself. A massive thanks to our team, the contractors and everyone who helped make it happen.”