More Strawberry Line progress
Over the summer more work was completed on extending the Strawberry Line footpath near Shepton Mallet. The ultimate ambition is to create an active travel footway all the way from Clevedon to Shepton Mallet. This is the route of the old Strawberry Line railway, most of which vanished in 1963. The intention is that the new path will be accessible for all and facilitate cycling walking, mobility vehicles and wheelchair access.
Today National Highways announced that they’ll be making a contribution of their own to the project. The current priority is the 5 mile stretch of line between Shepton Mallet and Wells. Essential to joining up the portions of renovated pathway is Stump Cross Bridge. This carries Ridge Road in Shepton Mallet over the disused Cheddar Valley railway line. Making a safe crossing of Ridge Road is central because Ridge Road has become a busy ‘bypass’ to Shepton Mallet. It has therefore become increasingly dangerous to cross.
Stump Cross Bridge has been under the control of National Highways since 2013. It has been a notorious fly tipping site and arches of the bridge have partly been filled in by local landowners. National Highways has now cleared up the site and undertaken works to the bridge to ensure safe load carrying. They’ve also installed a bat “hotel” beside one of the bridge’s spans.
National Highways have agreed to partner with Greenways and Cycleroutes to make this a part of the Strawberry Line path. A spokesperson for the Strawberry Line Society said: “We are delighted by the National Highways Historic Railways Estate’s (HRE) constructive stance on repurposing the old bridge over the trackbed at Ridge Road for active travel. We are hopeful that a safe passage under this heavily trafficked road can be achieved.”