Enjoying the delights of Cod Beck Reservoir and the popular Sheepwash beauty spot near Osmotherley is now possible for all thanks to North Yorkshire County Council’s locality budget.
Sheepwash is a popular picnic area and was once a watering place on the ancient drovers' road over the moors to Yarm and the River Tees. Combined with a walk around the nearby Cod Beck Reservoir, surrounded by woodland, it is a picturesque and easy stroll of under two miles.
In order to make the popular route fully accessible to all, a number of partners including the county council, Yorkshire Water, the National Trust, the North York Moors National Park Authority, North Yorkshire Police, Osmotherley Parish Council and local volunteers got together to form Sheepwash Action Group to develop a project for a new disabled access footbridge at Sheepwash.
Fundraising started with £1,500 from the locality budget of Tim Swales, at that time a county councillor and now chairman of Osmotherley Parish Council. Locality budgets allow the 72 county councillors to respond to local needs and requests by recommending funding of up to £5,000 to support projects or activities that benefit the communities they represent.
North York Moors National Park contributed £3,500 plus staff and volunteer time to construct the bridge and Yorkshire Water allowed the use of its land at no cost (and is subsequently in the process of constructing a disabled access route on its land to align with the new bridge). The National Trust permitted the use of its land, plus staff and volunteer time to build a footpath linking the car park and bridge.
After planning permission was secured, the project was completed early this year and an official opening took place on 25 April.
Mr Swales said: “This is an excellent example of a partnership project, with everyone contributing for the benefit of the community. Volunteers are a credit to the area, collecting litter and keeping the area clean and tidy so that people can enjoy a welcoming and pleasant environment.’’
Countryside and recreation apprentice for Yorkshire Water, Philip Tennyson, said: “It’s fantastic to see three like-minded, positive organisations coming together to provide something beneficial for everyone. The bridge is a great leap forward for accessibility and we look forward to developing the path system around Cod Beck to eliminate other barriers that prevent people from accessing the reservoir path.”