Wales embraces the strawberry line: a yr of development and connection | Native Information | Information | Wales Nob Information
In Wales, the Strawberry Line has emerged as a beacon of neighborhood spirit and outside exercise, with 2023 marking a banner yr for town and surrounding areas. This much-loved strolling and biking route, which winds by the picturesque Mendip Hills, has turn out to be an emblem of Wales’ dedication to selling energetic journey and embracing its pure magnificence.
For Welsh residents, the Strawberry Line presents a novel mix of historic exploration and modern-day leisure. By traversing this route, one can expertise the tranquility of the Somerset panorama, interwoven with the wealthy tapestry of native historical past. The latest growth and enchancment of the road has introduced a renewed sense of pleasure to the neighborhood, attracting locals and guests to discover the scenic trails.
The highway, which has seen important growth over the previous yr because of native authorities grants and the laborious work of volunteers, guarantees additional enhancements in 2024. These developments are of specific significance to Wales, as they promise to bridge the remaining gaps between town and Wales. The Bristol Canal, making the route simpler and extra pleasurable for everybody.
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They arrive to Cheddar
The longest steady part of the Strawberry Line runs from Yatton railway station to Station Street in Cheddar, largely following the route of the previous Cheddar Valley Railway.
The railway as soon as transported strawberries from the Cheddar space to markets as distant as London and Birmingham – however it closed within the mid-Sixties as a part of the infamous Beeching Sale.
Volunteers have labored laborious for the reason that mid-Eighties to safe the varied sections for secure public entry, following the route of the earlier path wherever potential.
This part of the route is essentially off-road, passing by the Winscombe Tunnel and skirting the jap fringe of the picturesque Cheddar Reservoir.
A small part within the village of Sandford has lately been upgraded, with Nationwide Grid delivering a brand new off-road part between the A368 Station Street and Drove Manner.
This part – which opened to the general public on 26 November – was delivered as a part of the development of a brand new substation that can deal with a lot of the electrical energy generated by the brand new Hinkley Level C nuclear energy station.
Councilor Mike Solomon, govt member for tradition and leisure at North Somerset Council, stated: “This can have a optimistic influence on the expertise of the 1000’s of people that go to Strawberry Line annually.
“I might encourage folks to go to and use these fantastic property, whether or not to get pleasure from a cycle, stroll, run or wheel and usually simply get pleasure from being in our lovely countryside.”
Westbury Sub Mendip to Easton
The villages of Westbury-sub-Mendip and Easton lie on the A371 between Cheddar and Wells – a stretch of highway with many slim hyperlinks and no footpaths.
A brand new part of the Strawberry Line has opened to the general public simply earlier than Christmas 2022, operating from Lodge Hill Enterprise Park on Station Street as much as Irlon Lane.
This part has been widened to supply a secure strolling and biking route between the 2 villages, which lie within the shadow of the Mendip Hills.
Work on widening this part started in June and completed in mid-September, with the highway persevering with from Erlon Lane to Easton Village Corridor on Ebbor Lane, following the prevailing public proper of method wherever potential.
Mick Fleisher, Chairman of the Strawberry Line Affiliation, commented in September: “This superb new part of monitor is a crucial step in direction of realizing this imaginative and prescient.
“It varieties a significant hyperlink between two communities, provides folks an actual inexperienced various to commuting by automotive to work or store, and can type a part of the Somerset Circle.”
Wales to Dolcot
A lot of the Wells part of the Strawberry Line runs on quieter roads by town centre, aside from a brief part between St. Cuthbert’s Paper Mill and the city’s rugby membership.
On the jap finish of town, issues are fully totally different, as there’s a lengthy part of off-road roads in direction of the Dolcott Family Waste Recycling Centre.
The present part runs alongside the A371 East Somerset Manner, bending away from the principle highway right into a densely wooded stretch and crossing over the River Sheppey.
After crossing over Durston Street, the trail curves by extra foliage on a stretch opened in March 2022, which at present ends on the entrance to Charlie Bingham’s Quarry Kitchen.
Two new sections of the Strawberry Line had been opened at Shepton Mallet in March, in one in all Mendip District Council’s ultimate acts earlier than it’s abolished and changed by Somerset Council.
One part of Ridge Street, on the western fringe of the city, extends to West Shepton Playgrounds, positioned off the B3136 West Shepton and near a deliberate website of 15 low-cost properties.
The opposite part begins on the Townsend Buying Middle (which incorporates the city’s massive Tesco retailer) and runs beneath the A371 Cannard’s Grave Street previous the Form Mendip Campus – which incorporates the places of work of Shepton Mallet Metropolis Council and the previous District Council.
This ultimate part then hyperlinks with the prevailing cycle hyperlink from Collett Park (often known as the Millennium Manner) and passes by the Tadley Acres property to the jap terminus of the Strawberry Line on the A37 Whitstone Hill.
The mission was made potential because of collaboration with the Nationwide Freeway and Historic Railway Authority (HRE), which manages former railway arches, bridges and different infrastructure throughout England.
“We’re proud to have performed a task in creating this new energetic journey route,” Helen Rossiter, head of the Nationwide Highways Human Rights Schooling Programme, stated in March.
“This path supplies secure passage for folks crossing the bridge whereas connecting walkers and cyclists to different energetic journey routes in Shepton Mallet.
“We care about our buildings, the historical past they signify, and the relationships folks have with them.
“By preserving and enhancing the distinctive Cannard’s Grave Street Bridge, we will protect it for future generations to get pleasure from.”
The longer term is brilliant, the longer term is… strawberry purple
Whereas the Strawberry Line is at present incomplete, it might not take longer than essential to fill within the remaining gaps to create a “steady, traffic-free route from Shepton Mallet to the ocean at Clevedon”.
The Strawberry Line Affiliation is at present prioritizing bridging the hole between Shepton Mallet and Wells through neighboring Croscrombe parish.
On the Shepton Mallet finish, volunteers cleared land on the raised bridge between the B3136 and The Sidings – though a brand new bridge shall be wanted to cross the principle highway and fill the hole between the 2 sections that opened in March.
On the western fringe of town, the charity is working with Nationwide Highways to reopen one of many former railway arches beneath the Stump Cross Bridge on the Ridge Street.
On the Wells finish, work is at present underway on a brief stretch close to the Dolcot Recycling Centre, which is predicted to open someday in early 2024.
A brand new brief part may also be offered alongside West Road as a part of town’s new Lidl grocery store, which is at present being constructed after plans had been accredited in July.
As soon as these sections transfer ahead, the charity will flip its consideration to the gaps between Wales and Cheddar, working with landowners to safe land alongside the previous monitor route and improve the prevailing cycle path close to the Kings of Wessex Academy.
The land behind Easton Village Corridor has already been secured, which means that extending this part in direction of the Haybridge space of Wells shall be extra simple when extra funding turns into out there.
Finally, every of those lacking hyperlinks shall be delivered when funding turns into out there – whether or not offered by the council, housing builders, central authorities or different our bodies.
North Somerset Council lately secured £417,650 from Lively Journey England – a part of which is getting used to attach the ‘Duck Lane Hyperlink’ north of Yatton, which can ultimately be prolonged to Clevedon.
This part will be part of the pier-to-pier route, linking Clevedon to Weston-super-Mare.
Councilor Hannah Younger, govt member for highways and transport, stated in July: “This funding is improbable information for North Somerset.
“This can assist native households by bettering highway crossings and routes to high school and opening a brand new part of our much-loved Strawberry Line for everybody to get pleasure from.
“I hope these adjustments will assist folks make fewer automotive journeys, which is best for everybody’s well being and wellbeing, helps shield our surroundings and makes the world safer too.”
The larger image
In addition to offering a shocking cycle route in its personal proper, the Strawberry Line is meant to type a part of the ‘Somerset Circuit’, a 76-mile traffic-free circuit linking Bristol, Bathtub, Mendip Hills and Somerset Ranges.
About two-thirds of the circuit is now full, with round 50 miles linked, and a lot of the excellent sections are within the former Mendip and Sedgemoor areas.
Somerset Council in September accredited plans for the brand new Windsor Hill energetic journey route, which can run from the A37 Kilver Road Hill over two historic bridges and thru the Windsor Hill Tunnel to the north-west of town.
This highway can then be prolonged in each instructions, operating in direction of the village of Emborough to the north and over the previous Charlton Bridge to the south, linking with the A361 Charlton Street.
Elsewhere, the Frome Lacking Hyperlinks mission has been working for a number of years to fill gaps within the metropolis’s cycle community, specializing in the ‘lacking hyperlinks’ of the north and south.
The Misplaced Hyperlink Southern proposals are nonetheless at a comparatively early stage, and would run from the Edmund Park housing growth to Longleat Safari Park, connecting with the Nationwide Cycle Community route 24 whereas avoiding the busy A361.
The northern sections have seen significantly better progress, with a protracted part extending from Welshmill Lane to the railway line after the extension was accomplished in September.
As soon as accomplished, these lacking hyperlinks shall be linked to the Colliers Manner energetic journey route, which runs all the best way to Radstock – and might be enhanced within the coming years because of new housing developments within the city.
For extra details about the Strawberry Line — together with learn how to get entangled as a volunteer — go to the web site www.thestrawberryline.org.uk.