Work has begun on a new 17-mile cycle path between Plymouth and Tavistock in Devon that will incorporate a railway tunnel built by the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel more than 150 years ago as well as a new, £2 million 1,000-foot long viaduct.
Once completed in Spring 2012, the new route, which follows a former branch railway line and includes the Grenofen tunnel, built in 1859 for the South Devon and Tavistock Railway, will be incorporated into the Drake’s Trail cycling and walking network, reports the BBC.
The tunnel closed during the 1960s after the railway fell victim to the ‘Beeching Axe’ and was bought by Devon County Council for £1 ahead of its inclusion in the project, in which it will be joined by the new viaduct across the Walkham Valley.
Talking about the tunnel, project manager Graham Cornish told the BBC: “Most of the stone work is in pretty good condition. The tunnel is an absolutely critical missing link in this."
Devon County Council is building the trail in partnership with West Devon Borough Council and the Devon Renaissance regeneration company, and funding is being provided by the European Union and the South West Regional Development Agency.
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.