The future of a six-mile disused stretch of railway in upper Wensleydale is to be discussed by members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
A report on a possible Hawes-Garsdale multi-user route will recommend members support the principle of creating a bridleway – which would be suitable for equestrians, cyclists, walkers and people with reduced mobility – along the old railway line picturesque.
The report, which will be released Monday ahead of a meeting of national park authorities on Tuesday, March 29, also recommends conducting a survey to determine the level of public support for the proposal.
The railway closed in 1959 and there is currently no public access along it between Hawes and Garsdale.
The current local plan for the Yorkshire Dales National Park supports the re-establishment of a railway along the route, as well as a parallel recreational footpath.
However, a feasibility study carried out on behalf of the Park Authority and Richmondshire District Council concluded that there was only room for a railway or a multi-user route, not both.
Park Authority Recreation Management Champion member Nick Cotton said: ‘Through the National Park Management Plan we have a shared commitment with local councils and other local groups to create an alternative family cycle path in the national park.
“It has a number of benefits, but the main one for me is allowing children and their families to get off a busy road and cycle in a safe and secure environment.
“The former branch line between Garsdale station and Hawes station, which is now the Dales Countryside Museum, was one of the suggestions where such a route could be developed.
“The next steps are for the authority to discuss the matter and, if they are in favor of moving it forward, seek public input.”