A section of a bridleway in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, has been saved from closure following an objection by the Byways and Bridleways Trust, British Horse Society and local resident Alan Kind.
But a question mark still hangs over the route.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) issued an order to delete part of the bridleway when it was pointed out to them that it, on the definitive map, ran through the wall of a church located within the Marrick Priory.
This deletion would leave a 50 yard gap between the bridleway and where it joins the main road, thereby, making it “useless” according to the Byways and Bridleways Trust.
And government-appointed independent inspector Mark Yates agreed, saying: “I find it likely that the subsequent recording of the way arose from an error when it was transposed onto the smaller scale maps.
“I believe it would be wrong, on the balance of probabilities, to take the view that a bridleway does not exist in this locality and consideration should be given to modifying the definitive map to record the way on its correct alignment.
“I do not consider that I have sufficient information to enable me to modify the Order in this case so as to accurately describe the route of the bridleway.
“Therefore, it will be for the Authority to determine whether an Order should be made … to modify the alignment of the relevant part of Bridleway No 28.”
The Trust is now calling for the YDNPA to “regain its credibility” by implementing a definitive map modification order to put the bridleway on the correct line.
Kathryn Beardmore, head of park management for the YNDPA, said: “This is a real conundrum for us.
“During an exhaustive six month inquiry we could find no cogent evidence of the correct line of this section of the bridleway.
“We therefore decided to delete the section of the bridleway in order to tidy up the definitive map, however this was objected to.
“This part of the bridleway has not been in use since the definitive map was created, it is accessible from the other end, however you cannot ride through the Priory to get anywhere.
“Although sections of the 12th century Priory have been re-built, the wall itself has been on-site for a very long time.
“We cannot simply divert the bridleway around the Priory as this would then be on third party land, who would have the right to object.
“I must stress that we are not against bridleways as we have just created 10 new miles as part of the Pennine Bridleway, however we cannot just create a section on a whim.
“We are currently looking at our available options.”