Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

December 20, 2005
First stage of £155,000 Burnham to Highbridge river path is completed

The brand new riverside path between Burnham and Highbridge

Cyclists and walkers in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge can enjoy a new traffic-free path between the towns after the first stage of building a brand new path was completed this week.

Running beside the River Brue between Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge, the path provides a safe route for local people and visitors and improve access to an attractive area where people can enjoy the coastal views and wildlife.

The path, that runs along the top on an Environment Agency flood embankment, forms part of Sustrans' National Cycle Network that comprises 10,000 miles of cycle paths across the UK.

The project was made possible after the Environment Agency decided to raise the height of the River Brue flood bank to improve the level of flood protection. The work, costing £155,000, provided an opportunity to turn an existing public footpath into a purpose-built cycle trail.

Yachts and boats in the River Brue next to the newly opened pathWork on the first phase of the scheme started earlier this year after talks between Sustrans, the Environment Agency, Somerset County and Sedgemoor District Councils. It included upgrading a 200 metre length of path running through Apex Park.

Work on the main phase started in September and has just been completed. It involved laying a fine stone and gravel surface along more than a kilometre of embankment to provide a continuous three-metre wide path suitable for cyclists, pedestrians and wheelchair users.

The improvements, which have cost around £95,000, were partly funded by a Department of Transport grant. Somerset County Council contributed £20,000 from its Safe Route to Schools Fund. The new trail was earmarked as a priority under the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Community Strategy and Market and Coastal Towns Initiative.

"The Environment Agency is pleased to have contributed to this important project by linking a flood bank improvement to this small, but valuable new link in the National Cycle Network. It clearly demonstrates what can be achieved through a successful partnership," said John Viney for the Environment Agency.

"It has long been an ambition to construct a cycle and pedestrian path between Burnham and Highbridge and is something that has always had strong local support, so it's successful completion is an important milestone and achievement," said Rob Shuttleworth for Sedgemoor District Council.

"This new link provides almost two miles of traffic-free route along the delightful, picturesque Somerset coastline between Burnham and Highbridge," said Sustrans Technical Director, Simon Talbot-Ponsonby. "It has been a pleasure working in partnership with the Agency and the local authorities to produce this new section of path."

The path forms part of the Wessex Cycle Route, also known as National Route 33, linking Weston-super-Mare and Bridgwater on the north coast with Lyme Regis and Seaton on the south coast.

All that remains is for signposts and picnic benches to be installed before the path is officially opened.

RELATED LINKS:

Work starts on new riverside path between Burnham and Highbridge

Apex Park

 


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