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The wonders of Bedale, North Yorkshire

PUBLISHED: 13:58 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:14 20 February 2013

St Gregory's Church and Market Place

St Gregory's Church and Market Place

Bedale in North Yorkshire could claim to be the perfect Dales town, writes Paul Mackenzie

There may only be six months left of Wanda Reynolds' reign as mayor of Bedale but she isn't winding down. Far from it. She is a woman with a dream she wants to realise. Work is already underway on a hydroelectric scheme which would help one of the town's visitor attractions generate some of its own power but Wanda hopes the project will eventually have a much wider impact.

'The hydroelectric scheme could be a real advantage to the town,' she said. 'And it is my dream to have a relief road when the A1 upgrade work is finished, with a car park near the A1 and an electric shuttle bus service running from there to the village using electricity we have generated.

'The scheme will power the farm visitor centre and if there is some left over for other uses we would also be able to power electric cars. That's the dream and I think it is achievable.'

The scheme is planned for an area of Bedale called the Harbour, a basin on the canal which was to link the town to the Swale and, eventually, the Ouse. The work was never completed as the railways came and overtook the canal network.

Wanda, who grew up in Newton-le-Willows a few miles to the west of Bedale, has known the town all her life and for the last 15 years has lived in the 19th century house beside the church where she married. She added: 'Bedale is the centre of the community, a market town with rural villages around it and it is central for the area and very important to the area.

'I used to come with my mother as a child so I have always known the traders and they are essential to the town. If you go into any shop you know the people trading personally and can always talk to them. They are interesting people and I think that's important. I mean people like Brian Cockburn who has run his butcher's shop in the town for 50 years.

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