On Riccal Drive, Helmsley, there is a small footbridge that leads to the former railbed. Turning right, a narrow, wooded, public footpath follows Spittle Beck South to Sawmill Lane, behind a new housing estate. Turning left, a permissive path continues for 1.2km east to the River Riccal, with no through route beyond.
Friends of Helmsley Railbed is a new volunteer group, formed of people and organisations who want to help to improve public access to the railbed, whilst protecting the environment too. We are borrowing the Sustrans.org mantra of
“Share – Respect – Enjoy”.
For several years, a few local people have chopped back vegetation to keep the paths open. In 2019, local residents Bill and Barry started to improve the paths. They bought some stone aggregate out of their own money, and also persuaded the building site to donate aggregate. It took them around six months, with countless wheelbarrow trips, to lay a path East to the Harome Road bridge. They also dug drainage ditches.
In November 2020, Ryedale Cycle Forum found more volunteers to help. Lots of vegetation was cleared, attractive “bug hotel” mini-hedges were laid, and we started to widen the path.
On January 28th 2021, on the Eastern section of path, we had a landslip! This is due to combined factors including weather, drainage, geology, history and vegetation. A big section of soil and trees slipped suddenly overnight, and has been moving more slowly since then.
At the moment there is a real risk to you and yours, from falling trees and large earth falls. We now have professional Geo-Engineering advice on how to deal with this landslip, with tree planting and drainage, to make the area safe for us all now, and in the future. The footpath going South towards Sawmill Lane is not affected. This footpath is due to be improved by the housing developer.
Would you like to help us? If we can get enough helpers, we can extend and widen both paths, to make them accessible for wheelchair users, families with prams, for bicycles and for horse-riders. We are also fundraising for a wider and stronger bridge over Spittle Beck. Getting out into the countryside, using the rail-bed, is really important for physical and mental health for lots of people. Enabling “greener” travel, lowers our carbon footprint.
We need volunteers to dig ditches, plant trees, wheelbarrow stone, chop & tidy. We also want to count and protect flora, fauna and stream-life. Can you organise? Support others? Do good Social Media?
Please note that, under Covid-19 restrictions, we can only do these activities as our daily exercise, and this must be individually or in pairs.
Friends of Helmsley Railbed is supported by Ryedale Cycle Forum, Ryedale Bridleways Group, Duncombe Park Estate, Helmsley Town Council, Ryedale District Council, Ryevitalise & North Yorkshire County Council.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone:- Mrs Jean Kershaw – 01439 771667