Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, has announced that it has submitted a planning application for a new walking and cycling route that will help provide a link for locals and visitors alike to one of Britain’s best known beauty spots.
The new, mainly off-road, route links Chepstow and Tintern, and largely follows the course of the former Wye Valley railway line through the river’s lower gorge, and includes two former railway tunnels as well as a new bridge that will cross the river at the site of the former railway bridge.
Shortly before reaching the bridge to cross from the river’s English bank to the Welsh side, people using the path will be treated to a spectacular view across the river to Tintern Abbey.
The plans are being backed by the Wye Valley Communities for Safe Cycling, with part of the funding coming from the Sustrans Connect2 project through a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
Rupert Crosbee, Area Manager for Sustrans, said, “This plan has been developed with the help and support of the local community. Local people will now feel safer leaving the car at home and cycling or walking to Chepstow, and the new bridge will make it much easier for people to get to Tintern without using their car.”
He added: “The route will be great for families, who will be able to let their children cycle across the area knowing they won’t have to use a busy road. We’re very excited about the conversion of the railway line, which will be of major benefit to the local community.”
The application has been submitted to the Forest of Dean Council and Monmouthshire County Council and will be heard this autumn, although dates have not yet been set.
Jeremy Cowen of the Wye Valley Communities for Safe Cycling, commented: "This is a wonderful opportunity for all residents and families of the lower Wye Valley to be connected once again via the disused Wye Valley railway line. It will offer an exhilarating journey to and from the heart of the valley for all, safe from the dangers of the A466 and B4228.”
He added: “Extensive public consultations in 2009 showed that 98% of the predominantly local respondents would use the path, the majority of whom would access the path by foot or bicycle. We would encourage the local community to embrace this opportunity and demonstrate their enthusiastic support to the two local councils."
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.