A FOOTPATH in the Yorkshire Dales has been restored after the replacement of an aging water pipe.

Yorkshire Water has been working for six months in the Yorkshire Dales National Park to renew almost 4km of pipe originally laid in 1968.

The pipe, that runs between Thwaite and Gunnerside, had previously suffered from various structural failures resulting in bursts, causing disruption to local customers.

Engineering specialists, Morrison Utility Services, carried out the £500,000 investment project on Yorkshire Water’s behalf and replaced the old main with more robust pipe.

The new pipes were laid almost parallel to various public footpaths connecting Muker village with the area’s outlying farms and hamlets. One particularly popular walking route here has around six stone squeeze stiles in succession providing access through dry stone walls.

The works meant that some of the walls had to be dismantled.

Yorkshire Water and Morrison Utility Services worked with Michael Briggs, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s area ranger for Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, to rebuild these stiles to a more accessible standard so they are safer and easier to use.

Mr Briggs said: "We always look for opportunities to improve the accessibility of footpath infrastructure, whilst preserving the more traditional boundary crossings. These rebuilt stiles will be slightly wider and lower with new gates.

“The public footpath network in the Upper Dales is very important to the local economy, and will be heavily used by visitors coming to watch the Tour de France in July during Muker's celebrations of the event.”