Route news: progress on traffic free trails in Wales and the West Country
16 mile Welsh route proposed, locals give West country route thumbs up
Plans revealed for £2million walk and cycle route in Ynys Mon
Sustrans this week announced progress on two new traffic free routes, one in Wales and one in the West Country with work on the latter hoped to start this summer.
In Wales there are plans to regenerate a former railway line in Ynys Mon by investing £2million in a new walking and cycling route, while in Devon residents have given an enthusiastic thumbs up to plans for traffic free route linking the towns of Bridport and Maidon Newton.
The proposed Lon Las Mon path would stretch for 16 miles along the old Lein Amlwch railway between Gaerwen and Amlwch.
As a first step to the path being built Sustrans Cymru, the Welsh arm of sustainable transport charity Sustrans, has conducted a feasibility study of the route.
The study concludes that it would be possible for Lein Amlwch to be used as a dual purpose heritage railway and greenway for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Glyn Evans, Sustrans Area Manager for North Wales, said: “The development of Lein Amlwch would provide an ideal location for local people to walk and cycle in a traffic free environment which would benefit the health of the communities. The route would also result in more daytrippers and holidaymakers heading into the north of the island, which will give a real economic boost to Ynys Mon.
“Our report shows that it is entirely feasible to develop a walking and cycling path along Lein Amlwch as well as accommodate a heritage railway over the central section.
“This project would result in a high quality and long-lasting facility that will not only be a popular leisure route but will also help local people go about their everyday journeys in a healthy and environmentally friendly way.”
The Lon Las Mon Greenway would form part of National Cycle Network Route 5 which currently consists of an on-road loop from Bangor to Holyhead. It would follow the development of the popular Celtic Trail and Taff Trail in Wales.
If all goes well in negotiations over rights of way and the necessary planning consents the greenway could be opened to the public by 2012.
Bridport to Maiden Newton traffic-free path
Meanwhiile in the West Country a proposed 10 mile traffic free route linking the towns of Bridport and Maiden Newton has received the thumbs up from local residents and Sustrans hopes to start work on it this summer.
Sustrans recently hosted informal consultation meetings – one in each town and over 250 people attended. Of 180 survey forms returned, 179 were in favour of the proposal.
The 10 mile route would follow the disused railway between Bridport and Maiden Newton. Sustrans, plans to resurface the line to enable year-round access by cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users.
Sustrans land negotiator Peter Henshaw said: “We are delighted to have such overwhelming public support for this proposal. People were saying how this path would be a real asset to the area and that they only wish we could start tomorrow.
“This enthusiasm clearly shows how popular the path would be and that it would give a huge health and fitness boost for people living in both towns.”
Walkers and cyclists were almost equal in their enthusiasm – 79 per cent of respondents said they would walk the path at some point, 78 per cent would cycle. Over 60 per cent would do both.
The path would have regular use, with 31 per cent saying they would walk it at least once a week, and 32 per cent cycling at least once a week.
Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) would use the path for leisure or recreation, and half to improve personal fitness. A further 14 per cent said they would use the path for shopping trips. The route also feeds in to schools in both Bridport and Maiden Newton, offering the prospect of a traffic-free school run.
Sustrans expects the project will take three to four years to complete. But the charity hopes to start work on a two-mile central section between Toller Porcorum and Powerstock Common later this year, following an ecological audit.
For further information about Sustrans, visit: www.sustrans.org.uk