A 17TH CENTURY footbridge protected from redevelopment will shortly take a step back in time.

Thanks to efforts by conservationists, Spruisty Bridge will have its crossing at Knox near Killinghall laid out in old stone setts, replacing the temporary tarmacadam.

The decision by North Yorkshire County Council to return some of the old charm to the one-time pack horse bridge - once in the heart of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough - has delighted conservationists.

Members of Knox Valley Residents' Association are now able to attach a heritage plaque to the bridge, revealing its history. It is being erected as part of the Nidd Gorge Local Heritage initiative.

Three years ago, Bilton Conservation Group and Knox Valley Residents' Association joined forces to improve public access to the Nidd Gorge.

This has involved researching archaeology, erecting interpretive boards and producing leaflets highlighting wildlife and local walks.

The setts will be pointed, and an even surface created to improve the appearance of the Grade 2 listed structure.

Meanwhile, the temporary tarmacadam pathway, laid to reduce the risk of accidents, will be removed to make way for the setts.

The bridge originally carried pack horse traffic between Knaresborough and Ripley and on through Bilton, Knox and Killinghall across Oak Beck.