Plans to re-route footpath ‘impractical’

Proposals to reroute a popular footpath across a Masham nature reserve have provoked outcry among councillors and residents in the town.

The footpath, which runs across Marfield Quarry past Hemphill House, could be re-directed to take a longer path around the edge of the nature reserve.

The right of way dates back to before the nature reserve and records show it to go through one of the site’s lakes, meaning that over the years walkers have made their way between the lakes and ponds making an alternative route.

Now landowners Lafarge Aggregates have applied to North Yorkshire County Council to have the footpath diverted around the eastern edge of the site, a route that Masham Parish Council says is “impractical and unsuitable” for many people who use the path.

“The route of the original walk was obliterated when they built the quarry, but by custom and practice for many years people have been going another route,” said Chairman of the Parish Council Cllr Andrew Burrell.

“Now they are trying to reroute them around the wildlife park but this new route is not suitable for the elderly or disabled people and the council is very strongly against it.”

Members of the public spoke out against the plans at the parish council’s meeting on Monday, September 5, and the council now plans to write to NYCC with their objections.