THE rebuilding of a long tumbled dry-stone wall on a popular footpath between Burley and Menston has marked the resumption of volunteer working parties by local walkers after a break of more than six months.

Burley-in-Wharfedale Walkers are Welcome group had begun the project to improve the footpath between Bleach Mill and Hag Farm in October 2020, initially by installing a kissing gate adjacent to a stile in order to make the footpath more accessible.

As well as being a popular route between Burley and Menston for walkers and runners, the path also forms part of the Ebor Way linking York with Ilkley and the Leeds Dales Way Link footpath.

The work also involved rebuilding of the stone wall either side of the new gate. Plans to complete the project by rebuilding the wall on the opposite side of the path had to be suspended though, following the introduction of new lockdown restrictions.

David Asher, Chairman of Burley-in-Wharfedale Walkers are Welcome said: “We were very pleased to have completed the installation of the kissing gate last October, as the path at Bleach Mill is one of the most heavily used footpaths in the Burley and Menston area. Although the existing stone step stile over the wall was an attractive feature, it had also proved to be a bit of a barrier for some people wishing to walk between the two villages. Our solution, of installing a gate but leaving the stile in situ, seems to have met the approval of the majority of local residents and users of the path. In fact all the stiles have now been replaced on paths between Burley and Menston, so walking in the delightful countryside between the two communities has never been easier.

“The response to our re-building the dry-stone wall either side of the new gate to its original glory was also very positive. So many walkers and runners stopped to compliment us on the work, it made us appreciate how much value local people place on our stone walls looking good. It encouraged us to secure agreement from the landowner to rebuild the wall on the opposite side of the path as well. We didn’t think it would take so long to complete, but now that it is finished, it has really transformed the area. Thanks are due to Burley-in-Wharfedale Community Trust who funded the gate, to Bradford Council Countryside Services Team for their assistance, to all the volunteers who have contributed to the project, and in particular to stone wallers Mark Kelmanson and Chris Hill for enabling the work to be completed to such a high standard.”

The group has also started installing benches at a number of locations around the village in order to provide a resting point for weary walkers. The first bench, part way along Hag Farm Road, was also funded by the Community Trust. Others have been privately funded and will be installed shortly in Stead and in Burley Woodhead.

Burley Walkers are Welcome are restarting their programme of short guided walks later this month, having stopped in November due to the pandemic. Numbers are restricted and places have to be pre-booked in advance. For more information, visit, or email