THE results of a survey to capture the public's opinion on the development of a Wharfedale Greenway have revealed overwhelming support.

The survey, conducted by the Friends of Wharfedale Greenway (FOWG), attracted over 1,700 responses, with 95 per cent supporting the development of a traffic-free route from Pool-in-Wharfedale to Bolton Bridge via Otley, Burley, Ilkley and Addingham.

Chair of the FOWG, Colm McCann, said: “This is unprecedented. It’s the first time a public online survey has been conducted to gather views on the greenway and we are overwhelmed by the high levels of support for the project.”

The Friends of Wharfedale Greenway held a meeting at Beech Hill Church in Otley, bringing together local MPs, elected members from numerous Parish Councils, senior stakeholders and decision makers, to preview the key findings from the survey.

These include: of the 1,705 respondents 95 per cent support the greenway; three per cent are unsure and two per cent are opposed to it.

Most people (93 per cent) wanted a traffic free walking route within the Wharfedale corridor with many (91 per cent) interested in having increased opportunities for fitness and recreation. Walking and cycling are the most popular uses that people thought they would use the greenway for but there is evidence that many would like access for all users.

FOWG was set up in 2021 by local volunteers who share the vision of creating a greenway supporting wildlife, leisure, and active travel. They are currently working with local communities and town/parish councils to raise awareness of and support for the greenway.

“At the many events we attend each year, the most common question we are asked is, ‘when is it going to happen?'" added Colm McCann. “There’s a real sense of disbelief that it is taking so long.”

After the event Anna Dixon, Labour parliamentary candidate for the Shipley constituency said: “I give my full support to the Wharfedale Greenway. The benefits to communities along its path are clear - providing accessible green space, boosting physical activity, and enabling more people of all ages to adopt active travel reducing congestion on our roads. There is overwhelming public support, now we need planning, political support and funding to make the plans a reality.”

Ilkley's MP Robbie Moore said: "It was a pleasure to attend the Wharfedale Greenway report launch on Friday, visiting a section of the Greenway route near Otley and hearing about plans for the future of the project. The hard work put in by Friends of Wharfedale Greenway has been exceptional.

"Extending the Greenway through Ilkley and Addingham and on to Bolton Abbey and the Dales has the potential to create an incredible asset for our community, creating a traffic-free corridor into nature and encouraging more people to get active. I look forward to hearing more about the project as it moves into the next stages of development."

As well as strong support for the project, the FOWG report highlights important questions that some members of the public would like to see addressed.

These include: the impact upon the environment; how the greenway would be funded; ways of maintaining the route; the specific location of the greenway; and ensuring different users respect each other.

Having established there is evidence of public support for the greenway, FOWG are confident they can work together with key stakeholders to find solutions to each of these legitimate questions.

The full report will be available online at the FOWG website from April 5, 2024 at