LOWER Wharfedale Ramblers are improving footpaths and bridleways in a trial which could pave the way for other groups across North Yorkshire.

A working group from Lower Wharfedale Ramblers has been chosen by North Yorkshire County Council, to trial practical working methods to maintain and improve rights of way across the county.

Under the scheme, which began in December, jobs are allocated to the group by a North Yorkshire countryside officer and agreement is reached on site about the scope and execution of the work. Since the start of the trial, the working group has already repaired stiles and gates, installed kissing gates and cleared bridleways. Lessons learned and techniques developed from the trial will help to establish other working parties across the county. Lower Wharfedale working group also completes path maintenance work in Bradford and Leeds.

Working group joint leaders Richard Smith and Richard Brook have been liaising with officers from North Yorkshire to reach the agreement.

Mr Smith said: "Over the last few months I have been working with representatives from North Yorkshire County Council to work out an agreement with us to agree a way of working with our practical maintenance group. That agreement was reached for the start of the 2017 and how the work develops will inform how other volunteer groups will work with North Yorkshire to maintain and improve the rights of way across the county."