The Wensleydale Explorer Bus

The Wensleydale Explorer bus 2009

Thanks to a new partnership headed by the Yorkshire Dales Society, Wensleydale will enjoy a new, fully integrated Sunday and Bank Holiday bus network this summer.

Starting at Leyburn at 0910, and calling at Aysgarth at 0917, and Bainbridge at 0932, the Wensleydale Explorer 807 bus will travel to Hawes before leaving the Dales Countryside Museum at 0945 for Ribblehead Station in time to catch the northbound Settle-Carlisle train for a day in Appleby or Carlisle, meeting the 1802 return train in the early evening.

But there’s more. The bus will return from the station with rail passengers from Settle and West Yorkshire for Hawes, continuing from Hawes at 1100 for Bainbridge (1110) and Aysgarth (1120) before carrying on up Bishopdale and over the Stake Pass to Buckden, from where there is a direct connection on the 874 bus to Kettlewell and Grassington, the bus returning with visitors from Wharfedale for Aysgarth and Hawes.

In the afternoon, the bus will provide a useful shuttle from Hawes at 1245 to Gayle Mill before leaving Hawes at 1300 for Aysgarth Falls. Connections are then

provided with late afternoon trains and buses returning from the Settle and Carlisle line or Upper Wharfedale for Hawes, Bainbridge and Leyburn.

For anyone over 60 with an A11-England concession pass, the bus service is absolutely free of charge, whilst bargain Day Return tickets are very competitive with ever increasing petrol prices. The new service will be a boon for local people and visitors alike, giving a huge choice of days out in the Dales for people without cars, and for keen walkers enabling some superb linear cross-Dale walks to be planned, to or from a parked vehicle. The new network will also help to reduce congestion and pollution, and is the result of an initiative by the new not-for-profit Dales and Howland Community Interest Company, working with local communities and tourist bodies to provide new travel opportunities for the Dales.

Recently established by the Yorkshire Dales Society and the Yorkshire Dales Public Transport Users Group, the D&B CIC has received support from North Yorkshire County Council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority for the new service, but help has also come from both voluntary bodies and from a generous grant from the Friends of Settle-Carlisle line who see the new bus link as an important way of boosting travel on Sunday rail services.

Between July 27th and September 28th, connections with the new Ingleborough Pony service at Ribblehead will also create a direct Sunday bus link between Leyburn, Hawes and Ingleton, on the 0945 departure from Hawes, giving a full day out in Ingleton with ample time to visit the famous Waterfalls and White Scar Caves, returning on the 1725 return bus from Ingleton onto the 1805 bus for Hawes and Leyburn.

The service will operate until late October, but as funding is only on a temporary basis, the future of the service will depend totally on its popularity with Wensleydale people and their visitors. Full details of the Wensleydale Explorer service are available in leaflets at National Park and other visitor centres, in timetables distributed locally, or on the Dalesbus web site

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The Dales