Councillors and railway staff on a new cycle track

Full-steam ahead for new cycleway

A new cycle path taking in some of the county’s beautiful scenery has been officially opened.

The Aln Valley Cycle Path is a 2.3km track which runs along the route of the former railway line between Lionheart Station in Alnwick and Greenrigg near Alnmouth, where it joins the local road network.

The path connects Alnwick to the coastal cycle-route, providing a safe and scenic journey for both cyclists and pedestrians - as well as providing an alternative to riding on the busy A1068 road.

The idea came from the Aln Valley Railway Trust, which is re-opening the Alnwick to Alnmouth railway line as a tourist attraction and had proposed a cycle and footpath running alongside it - a scheme supported by the county council.

The council then secured £144,000 in European funding to construct the new path which is now complete and open to all.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, said: “We’re blessed in this county with some fantastic paths and this new route is no exception, passing through a beautiful and quiet stretch of countryside and providing a new link between Alnwick and Alnmouth.

“The County Council has made climate change a key priority and amongst a number of new initiatives we think it’s important to place more focus on improving and investing in walking and cycling which not only  improves health but also reduces car use.

“We were delighted to work with the Aln Valley Railway Trust to provide this route.”

Councillor Cath Homer, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism, said: “This is a great new addition to the network, bringing a safer and more peaceful route between the two tourist areas and hopefully attracting new visitors to boost the local economy.

“As the council’s cycling and walking champion I’m delighted this also opens up the surrounding countryside to visitors, allowing access to features such as the historic  Cawledge Viaduct and the local rights of way network.

Alnwick County Councillor Gordon Castle added: “The A1068 road between Alnwick, Lesbury and Alnmouth has never been a suitable road for cycling or walking and a cycle path has long been needed. 

“At last it is open and joins up with the Greenrigg road to Bilton and Lesbury. A few hundred metres away from that exit is the cycle path from Hipsburn to Warkworth. We are serious about making cycling and walking safer and more enjoyable and this demonstrates our commitment to local people and visitors.”

Kevin Holden, the Aln Valley Railway’s Permanent Way Manager, on behalf of the Trust, said: “It was a huge pleasure working with the team from the contractors, WL Straughan, who have completed the footpath and cycleway adjacent to our railway.

“It is great to see so many people now using the new safe pathway, both cyclists and families on foot. We are now looking forward to our next ‘push’ from Greenrigg on towards Alnmouth.”
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