Mendip goes the distance and opens another multi-user path
Mendip District Council has opened another new section of The Strawberry Line - at the Shape Mendip Campus in the popular market town of Shepton Mallet.
The path is a traffic-free corridor between Collett Park, the Tadley Acres housing state and East Shepton residents to the Townsend Retail Park and West Shepton.
In celebration of the multi-user path opening, volunteers, VIPs and guest organisations were invited to a special ribbon cutting ceremony at the site.
They included HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Mr Mohammed Saddiq, and former HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw. Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke (who has campaigned for traffic-free paths for two decades), fellow councillors and council staff were also present, alongside representatives from National Highways, Somerset County Council, Shepton Mallet Town Council, Greenways & Cycleroutes and volunteers from The Strawberry Line project.
Path development is a key corporate priority for the Council which aims to connect communities, reduce car travel, cut carbon emissions, and promote active lifestyles in the district.
Cllr Wyke said: "This is an important and significant day for us. We have been campaigning with partners, volunteers, and government at all levels, for many years to get this going.
"Paths are becoming part of our landscape. They provide all sorts of benefits; they create commuter corridors between towns and the city to keep communities connected and make active travel easier and safer by getting people off our dangerous roads.
"Each section built is part of a bigger picture. Collectively, we are aiming to make Somerset a walking, horse-riding and cycling county.
"I would like to thank everyone involved for their contribution to make this happen. This is a pivotal point in our determination to make multi-user paths part of our everyday life."
National Highways' Head of the Historical Railways Estate programme, Hélène Rossiter, said: "We're proud to have played a part in the creation of this new active travel route. This path offers a safe passage for people crossing the bridge while connecting walkers and cyclists to other active travel routes in Shepton Mallet.
"We care about our structures, the history they represent, and connections people have with them. By preserving and enhancing the unique Cannards Grave Road Bridge, we can maintain it for future generations to enjoy."
In addition to the Council campus development, Mendip has opened paths in Dulcote, Westbury-Sub-Mendip, and at West Shepton Playing Fields to Pilton, with an extension to the newly built Dulcote section to Churchill Batch Lane, currently under construction. They all form part of the Strawberry Line and the vision of the Strawberry Line Society to link 'Shepton to the Sea' at Clevedon.
The Strawberry Line is part of the Somerset Circle which, when completed, will form a 76-mile traffic-free circuit linking Bristol, Bath, the Mendip Hills, the Somerset Levels.