Former Somerset rail bridge to become active travel route

A disused railway bridge that has become a notorious fly-tipping spot could soon become an active travel route under new plans.

Stump Cross Bridge carries Ridge Road in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, over the disused Cheddar Valley railway line, which was closed in 1963, reports the BBC.

The bridge had fallen into disrepair and become a hot spot for dumping rubbish. It is hoped the bridge will be used to support a new route for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users.

Discussions are taking place between partners – cycling and walking charity Greenways and Cycleroutes Ltd and National Highways, the custodian of the UK’s Historical Railways Estate.

Since taking over custodianship of the structure in 2013, National Highways has cleared up the site and undertaken works to the bridge to ensure safe load carrying, as well as installing a bat “hotel” beside one of the bridge’s spans.

Greenways and Cycleroutes have been working with the former Mendip Council, now Somerset Council, to construct a number of missing sections along the planned 32 mile (51km) greenway and active travel route from Clevedon Pier to Shepton Mallet.

The route will bypass heavily trafficked roads and hilly terrain, said the BBC report.

Hélène Rossiter, National Highways, said: “We are really excited about aspirations for this site and are working closely with partners to support their plans. We know that there is strong community support for repurposing Stump Cross Bridge and we’ve taken this on board as part of our plans.

“As ever there are challenges to overcome but by working together we can maximise our chances of success.”


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