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Good News for Geltsdale

20 Dec 2016


This is a view of the 'New Water Bridge’ at Geltsdale in the north east of the county, circa 1900.


The bridge provided a vital link in a 13km long bridleway known as the Old Coal Road.

This route runs through a spectacular area of the North Pennines, rich in history and wildlife, with 360 degree views over open countryside - it's not to be missed.

In 2013, a new bridle bridge was built by Cumbria County Council to cross New Water River.

At last there was a chance for horse riders, walkers and cyclists to enjoy this wonderful area of the countryside once more.


However, a new problem then arose.  

At the west side of the river, a stretch of the bridleway collapsed due to landslips, making it unfit to ride.  

This was such a frustrating situation to be in – made more exasperating because the rest of the bridleway was generally in a very good state of repair.

It is now very gratifying to be able to report that, due to the tireless efforts of David Clare and his colleagues at the County Council together with a very positive and co-operative landowner, the section of collapsed bridleway has been re-routed away from the river and given a beautiful new horse friendly surface.  

In addition, the peaty covering on a rather boggy section has been scraped away to reveal the firm surface below.

There was of course nothing for it – but to test the route at the earliest opportunity!

Pamela Bonnick and our reporter for this article, Karen McLellan, loaded up Pamela’s two ponies, Flyer and Alma, and made the short trip to a convenient parking place at the start of the Bridleway at Newbiggin.

"Riding up onto the fell through ancient woodland, riders can expect to see buzzards playing aerial games above their heads," said Karen.

"The new section of bridleway takes about an hour to reach and feeling the super surface under their hooves, our ponies enjoyed a spontaneous canter," she added


It is wonderful that riders can now enjoy the fruits of so much effort and David Clare has already been informed that people are using the route.  

This is a traffic and gate-free route, with further planned links underway to Tindale and onwards.

There is no road alternative and it vastly increases the amount of off road riding in an area not well supplied with bridleways.


Karen and Pamela plan to ride the whole route from Newbiggin to Castle Carrock in the North just as soon as they are fit enough.

We encourage riders out there to do the same, you will not be disappointed!


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