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. In the future we hope that the railbed will become part of a Helmsley – Kirkbymoorside cycle path, also open for horse-riders, walkers and wheelchair users.
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.
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?
Friends of Helmsley Railbed are fundraising for some more stone to improve the muddy sections of railbed path, and also for a longer and wider bridge over Spittle Beck, so that prams, wheelchairs and bicycles can access the railbed to enjoy it. We have an account for donations Friends of Helmsley Railbed 60-83-01 20454157.
Friends of Helmsley Railbed is supported by Ryedale Cycle Forum, Ryedale Bridleways Group, Duncombe Park Estate, Helmsley Town Council, North Yorkshire Council, Ryevitalise, Ryedale Environment Group and Helmsley Green Team
Contact us at Helmsleyrailbedpath@outlook.com
Telephone:- Helen Gundry – 07827 315131
Biodiversity summary prepared by Rhona Sutherland of Ryedale Natural History Society