We are the only membership charity campaigning for the protection and enjoyment of the Dales
 We are the only membership charity campaigning for the protection and enjoyment of the Dales

Countryside Access



We are not a charity primarily concerned with seeking access to the countryside.  Generally we support the policies of the Ramblers (the “Ramblers’ Association”), and greatly appreciate the efforts of that and related organisations which have resulted in a secure network of rights of way and a right of access to open country.


We believe that people have a right to access and enjoy the countryside.  The rights of way network and the right to walk in open country are essential to an experience of the Dales, and bring physical and spiritual benefits to both residents and visitors.  The rights of way network is also an important aspect of the history and cultural heritage of the Dales. 


We also believe that in order to access the countryside, it is essential that people both within and from outside the Dales should be able to travel to and around the area.  Our policies on transport and especially public transport therefore link closely to those on access.


Our Policies

  • We recognise the importance of observing the Countryside Code.
  • We support the maintenance and enhancement of the rights of way network in the Dales.
  • We support the availability of access to land classed as open countryside.
  • We support a policy of “quiet enjoyment” of the countryside.  This means that we advocate access on foot, by cycle and on horseback.  We recognise that there are rights for motorised users on some unsurfaced routes, but we believe that the abuse of such rights should lead to their reduction or loss.
  • We believe the rights of way network should be accessible to a wide range of users.  To facilitate this, “barriers” to less able users should be reduced wherever possible: stiles should be replaced by stock-proof gates except where the former are part of the vernacular heritage of the area.
  • We believe that adequate waymarking of routes across “improved” land will both increase the confidence of less experienced walkers and reduce the likelihood of trespass with consequent annoyance and inconvenience to landowners.
  • We recognise that many people enjoy the company of dogs, and encourage responsible ownership and control of dogs in the countryside.  The use of leads at appropriate times is encouraged in order to ensure the safety of livestock and ground-nesting birds.
  • We recognise the demand from charities to organise challenging walks to raise funds, but encourage them to minimise the impact of traffic and parking, and to promote a greater understanding amongst participants of the nature of the land they walk through, and the need to ensure responsible levels of use.
  • We recognise the need for wider safe access for cyclists, but do not support the use of bikes on footpaths.


What we will do


  • We will encourage people of all backgrounds to access and enjoy the countryside in a responsible way.
  • We will urge Access Authorities to fulfil their statutory responsibilities regarding access and to provide adequate resources for their countryside services in order to ensure the resolution of issues and difficulties.
  • We will support the National Park Authority in policies which keep the maintenance and enhancement of rights of way as one of its highest priorities.
  • We will support user organisations in their efforts to ensure that the rights of way network is protected and enhanced, and that access to open countryside is not diminished.

There are many ways to Support our Charity and be a Friend of the Dales, to help keep the Dales special and vibrant for years to come. 

Join us as a member

Make a donation

Leave a gift  in your will

Register as a supporter 

Help as a volunteer at our events

Our Business members are very valuable to us and we thank them all. For a list of all these businesses, or for more information on the benefits of business membership, click HERE

Bill Bryson, a supporter, says :

"There isn't a more glorious and beguiling landscape anywhere, or one more deserving of our support. It really is as simple as that"

Alastair Humphreys 

Our Patron

says :


"it's more beautiful than you realise; the people are open and friendly and have time for you; your phone might not work which is a positive as you'll have more time - slow down and enjoy the silence".

Alastair’s quest for adventure began young. Aged 8, he completed the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge over 26 miles 

Chair: Bruce McLeod

Registered Address:

Canal Wharf, Eshton Road, Gargrave, BD23 3PN.

Charity number 515384.Company limited by guarantee number 1822908

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