The Case for a Bridge
There is no bridge across the River Wharfe at Burley-in-Wharfedale, and the nearest bridges are the road bridges at Ben Rhydding and Otley, two and a half and three miles away respectively. The present right of way crossings of the River Wharfe at Burley-in-Wharfedale are at Greenholme Farm, Leather Bank. These consist of of stepping stones for walkers and an adjacent bridleway ford. The stepping stones are nearly always fully submerged from autumn to spring, and frequently partially or fully submerged during the summer months. Effectively there is no reliable route for walkers and runners for most of the year. During 2008 it is believed that the stepping stones were submerged for the whole twelve months. Furthermore, the River Wharfe, with a catchment area in the Pennine hills, often rises quickly without warning. This can present a hazard to users who may cross the river in one direction and find their way blocked on their return. Lack of maintenance of the stepping stones from the 1990s led to a number of gaps thus making the crossing virtually impassable without wading. This eventually led to the 'Save our Stones' campaign being initiated by concerned residents in 2009. Repairs were eventually completed by Bradford Council in June 2013.