RIDERS have been able to traverse an historic ford in Ryedale - linked to a network of bridleways - since reinstatement work was completed.

A number of groups contributed grant money to the improvement of the Cowl Dyke Wath, a ford on the River Dove south of Kirkbymoorside.

Ryedale Bridleway group had been lobbying for years to have the ford reinstated and in September the work was completed.

Grants from the British Horse Society Paths for Communities fund, the Ride Yorkshire Foundation, the Bridleways Trust, Ryedale Bridleway group and individual donations - in total over £2,000 - were instrumental to the work eventually being done, with the North Yorkshire County Council’s rights of way department making up the difference.

Bill Tait, chairman of Ryedale Bridleway group and guide for the Ride Yorkshire Foundation, said: “It was a long hard struggle to get this ancient ford reopened, but now horse riders can enjoy this route which links to a whole network of bridleways.

“As well as the ford being improved, gates with depth gauges were placed at the ford.

“Many thanks to everybody involved, in particular to the two landowners and to Ben Jackson - rights of way officer - for organising the work and ensuring the extra funding was provided.

“On Sunday a party of riders on a Ride Yorkshire guided ride used the ford to access the bridleways in the Normanby area. Riders expressed their delight in being able to use the ancient ford.”

Cowl Dyke Wath is sometimes labelled Cold Dike Wath on earlier maps. The word Wath is of Norse origin and means ford.

Mr Tait urged caution - riders should note the height of the river using the depth gauges, to see if it is safe to cross.