MORE people that ever attended walks organised by Burley in Wharfedale’s Walkers are Welcome group as part of the recent Burley Summer Festival.

The thirteen walks attracted a record 340 participants, up from 300 last year. A number of walks booked up shortly after becoming available, for instance a walk to Weston Hall for a tour of the Hall, gardens and nearby church and an archaeology walk on the lower slopes of Burley Moor with Dr Keith Boughey, a prominent local archaeologist and historian. Other sell out walks included a visit to Burley’s hydro-electric plant, a guided tour of Marton Mills, Pool in Wharfedale, the last working textile mill in Wharfedale and a visit to Greenholme Mills prior to the site being redeveloped for housing.

David Asher, chairman of Burley Walkers are Welcome said: “I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to making this year’s walking programme during the Burley Festival so successful – including walk leaders, those people who opened up their workplace or who shared their particular passion or knowledge, and of course the participants for making the walks so friendly and good fun. Thanks are also due to the Burley Festival Committee for all their administrative support. The record attendances are a good indication that the varied choice of walks on offer appealed to a wide cross section of people, not just those who see themselves as serious walkers. So while we had good attendances such as on our night walk over Burley Moor, and on the walks to Addingham and around Stead, the village walk with architectural enthusiast Bruce Speed and the walk with railway and industrial historian Norman Simpson were also oversubscribed. Sadly, Bill Smith who was due to jointly lead the railway walk with Norman to share his experiences from working in Burley’s signal box, was unable to come due to trains being cancelled through the morning, but we hope to bring him back to Burley in the future! We could also have organised two extra walks to Greenholme Mills, such was the level of demand. We are always keen to visit places that members of the public do not usually get access to, so a guided tour of Otley Wetlands Nature Reserve proved very popular, despite it being on one of the hottest days of the week. On the opposite side of the weather spectrum, no one was put off on the wettest day of the week from walking onto Burley Moor with Dr Keith Boughey to visit some of carved stones, cairns and enclosures on the lower slopes. By the time we reached the Hermit Inn at Burley Woodhead for refreshments at the end of the afternoon everyone was soaked to the skin! However, Keith managed to keep everyone distracted from their discomfort by his entertaining and informative approach to local archaeology. Unfortunately two walks had to be diverted due to the stepping stones over the River Wharfe being covered, however, we had contingency plans in place knowing how unpredictable it can be to cross the river safely even during the summer months. We will shortly begin planning for our 2020 programme and we would be pleased to receive ideas – we already have some interesting ones to follow up.”