Sustrans project now goes before Monmouthshire County Council

The proposed Wye Valley walking and cycling route moved a step closer to being realised last week when Forest of Dean Council gave approval by plans by the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, to convert the former Wye Valley Railway Line into a shared-use path.

As reported last month on road.cc, Tidenham Parish Council, which falls within the Forest of Dean Council area, had voted against the scheme, but supporters of the route, including weather presenter Sian Lloyd and TV personality Ben Fogle, have carried the day, on the English side of the river at least.

Attention will now turn to the opposite bank, which falls under Monmouthshire County Council’s control, where the planned route will terminate close to Tintern Abbey after crossing into Wales via a new bridge over the River Wye.

The route, which is being part financed by Big Lottery Fund money under Sustrans’ Connnect 2 initiative, will also see the reopening of two former railway tunnels.

No date has yet been set for Monmouthshire County Council’s hearing into the scheme, but in the meantime expressions of support can be sent by email to planning [at] monmouthshire.gov.uk, quoting reference number DC/2010/00783

Rupert Crosbee, Scheme Manager for Sustrans, commented, “We’re delighted that Forest of Dean Council has approved these plans. This path will be a major benefit to the local community, linking a number of towns and villages with Chepstow and Tintern.

“Local people will be able to make more local journeys easily and safely without having to get in their car.”

Jeremy Cowen, spokesperson for the Wye Valley Communities for Safe Cycling, expressed his thanks to the more than 1,300 supporters who had given their backing to project to date, and said, “We’re delighted that Forest of Dean Council has responded to the overwhelming support of the local community.

“We are looking forward to working with Sustrans to get the application passed in Monmouthshire and then on delivering this fantastic link,” he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.