Thankfully a relatively sunny day dawned for the official ceremony marking the opening of the Pennine Bridleway by actor and President of the British Horse Society, Martin Clunes. In front of representatives from the local authorities involved with the development of the route as well as those representing cycling, walking and riding groups, Mr Clunes just managed to reach from the back of his mount for the day to cut a ribbon declaring the 205 mile Trail open. The ceremony took place at the award winning new bridge installed as part of the creation of the Trail to cross the River Ribble near Selside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Martin Clunes & Alison Roper at Far Moor Bridge with Carl Lis of Yorkshire Dales National Park (left) and Poul Christensen of Natural England (right)
The celebrations then moved on to Clapham village hall where those gathered were welcomed by David Butterworth, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the events' hosts for the day. Guests who had enjoyed a walk or a more gruelling bike ride to experience other sections of the National Trail before meeting up at the village were then entertained by speeches from Poul Christensen, Chair of Natural England, and Graham Cory, Chief Executive of the British Horse Society.
In total the development of the Pennine Bridleway has required 140 agreements with land owners to create 65 miles of brand new public bridleway.
Martin Clunes leads the procession to the bridge along a newly created stretch of bridleway with Pen-y-Ghent in the background
Poul Christensen said "The route provides outstanding opportunities to enjoy some of England's finest countryside and is a fantastic asset for tourism in the north of England." One of the businesses looking to benefit will be Stonetrail Riding Centre, located at the northenmost end of the new section of the route which provided horses for the opening ride.