A new cycling and walking route boasting eco-friendly lighting and forming part of an extensive and growing network has been opened in Bridgwater.
Children from Eastover Primary School were the first to cycle the new route this week, the next phase in the town’s off-road A38 Active Travel Corridor. The 1km path runs alongside the River Parrett from Bridgwater’s Express Park to the Saltlands Bridge.
The new safe route for cyclists and pedestrians, jointly funded by the Government’s Levelling Up Fund and Hinkley Point C, and delivered by contractor Milestone, will eventually stretch from the Gravity site at Puriton to Bridgwater town centre.
In addition it follows the route of The England Coast Path National Trail, a long distance walking route which will eventually be available around the whole of the English coast.
The new pathway will form a significant addition to an extensive existing network in and around the town which is available to view on the opens in a new windowBridgwater Way interactive route map. Following recent delivery of the toucan crossings of A38 Bristol Road and associated link to Ascot Drive, the path is an essential component of linking the town centre to the area of north east Bridgwater.
Other work is already underway to link Express Park to Dunball, and plans are continuing to be developed on the next stretch of the A38 Active Travel Corridor between Saltlands Bridge and the town centre through Bridgwater Docks and Northgate Yard.
Councillor Mike Rigby, Somerset County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Transport and Digital, led the opening ceremony attended by a range of partners and community leaders including Bridgwater’s Mayor Cllr Liz Leavy.
He said: “This is a fine piece of work by our contractor Milestone delivered on time and budget and it’s an excellent addition to Bridgwater’s growing cycling and walking network.
“We are committed to investing in active travel infrastructure across Somerset to make it easier for people to cycle or walk instead of using the car and we’d urge everyone to take a look at our Local Walking and Cycling Plans for key towns in the county, including Bridgwater.
“These are evolving blueprints and we want to hear from residents about what cycling and walking provision they want to see.”
Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C, said: “We’re pleased to fund a scheme which pushes forward the move to net-zero. The new path will connect communities across Bridgwater, in a way that benefits both the environment and people’s health – and is one of many ways we’re ensuring local people benefit from Hinkley Point C.”
Cllr Sarah Dyke, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change said: “Making it a reality for children to safely walk or cycle to school and for people to easily get to work on bicycle or foot is part of our long-term vision in order to cut traffic on our roads and greenhouse emissions and it’s great to see this growing network in Bridgwater.”
Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity, Cllr Adam Dance said: “Cycling and walking are the cornerstones of a healthier lifestyle and the great thing about this development is that people of all ages can incorporate that safely into their daily living, whether on the way to school, work, the shops or just out for pleasure.”
“Active Travel Minister Jesse Norman said: “Our goal is to put active travel at the heart of towns and cities, so that local residents can leave their cars at home and make cycling and walking their first choice.
“We have invested over £600 million in walking and cycling schemes since 2020, which will improve health, protect the environment and boost the local economy.”
Learn more about Bridgwater’s cycling and walking routes on the opens in a new windowBridgwater Way website.
Have your say on opens in a new windowSomerset’s Local Cycling and Walking Plans.
If you spot a problem on the road you can report it quickly and easily by visiting the opens in a new windowSomerset County Council website.
For updates on traffic and travel follow @travelsomerset on Twitter and Facebook.