A beautiful Spring morning, the threat of Covid is retreating there is light at the end of the tunnel all goes well, but there are changes taking place.

Over the last difficult year I like many others have discovered the joys of walking or perhaps strolling in Wharfedale, over the moors, through fields and woods, along the river bank, time to stand and stare absorbing the sense of freedom, observing the little wonders of nature and listening to the silence.

Now though the little traditional car parks at Langbar have been fenced off making access for strollers like me along with the more serious climbers looking to walk up Beamsley Beacon difficult. The small car park on the A59 near Bolton Abbey too has been filled in, the Bolton Abbey Estate website appears to show that walkers of whatever level will in future have to book a slot and pay a fee. It would seem that locals will no longer be welcome for an evening stroll with friends and walkers on the Dales Way, our national trail from Ilkley to Windermere too may have to book and pay in order to complete the two or so miles that are within the Estate.

How sad this all is, it is just so disappointing to find that walkers/strollers all of whom love the countryside and many who like me have just recently discovered the joys of watching nature now find that what has been a joy during the dark days of the pandemic particularly here in Wharfedale is now set to become restricted and expensive.

If these examples are a sign of ” the new norm” throughout both Wharfedale and Yorkshire generally. Please can we all consider very carefully, encouraging visitors to Wharfedale brings prosperity to small businesses restrictions and charges wherever they are do nothing to make walkers/strollers feel welcomed and valued.

Sue Wood