Gale force winds have wrecked a footbridge to a popular beauty spot.

And county bosses say they are unable to give a date when Ridge Mill Bridge, at Cowling, will be repaired. It has been left twisted after being hit by a tree uprooted in fierce winds.

It has been closed for safety reasons and the damage is being assessed by North Yorkshire County Council.

Residents have voiced their fears that repairs may prove to be impossible because of access problems from the A6068.

A county council spokesman said: "It's important as the bridge is on a very popular route. However, the damage is substantial and it's all a question of money, any repairs will be very expensive."

Ridge Mill Bridge is situated on a popular walk between Wainman's Pinnacle and Lund's Tower and is also the primary means for Cowling residents to cross Ickornshaw Beck.

The tree was not uprooted but was blown against the bridge with such ferocity that the metal girders underneath the bridge have become warped and are now unstable.