New Welsh cycle route opens tomorrow

Clydach Gorge route offers spectacular cycling and handy transport link

by Barney Fletcher   November 12, 2008  

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The Clydach Gorge walking and cycling route is officially opened tomorrow. The Welsh route  follows the line of the former Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny railway for eight miles between Llanfoist and Brynmawr, and passes through the Clydach Gorge Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

It has taken over 20 years to complete and marks the beginningof the Heads of Valleys route from Abergavenny to Neath. It also forms akey part of the Valleys Cycle Network, which Sustrans together with local councils in the area will create over the next five years.

Welsh Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones AM will officially opens the traffic-free path - which is part of the National Cycle Network created by Sustrans. 

Commenting on the new route Alun Ffred Jones, said: 

"The transformation of the old Clydach railway line into a walking and cycling route is a wonderful opportunity for surrounding communities to enjoy an area of outstanding beauty, appreciate the local history and improve their health and wellbeing. 

"The Assembly Government places great emphasis on the importance of cycling and the role it plays in sports, health, tourism and environmental policy. With Wales one of the best places in Britain for cycling, this addition to Sustrans' National Cycle Network is excellent news for both local people and tourists."

Gwyn Smith, South East Wales Area Manager for Sustrans Cymru, said:

"This path opens up stunning scenery for local communities and tourists alike, and is already proving hugely popular. 

"It provides both a leisurely ride into the top of the Valleys and connects small towns at lower levels, creating a viable alternative to busy trunk roads for everyday journeys.