March 2023 Openings

Please read the corresponding article “A small step for Shepton, but a step change for active travel by Mick Fletcher.

March 10th saw Annie Maw, the former Lord Lieutenant of Somerset lead a group along the newly laid path from the Shepton Mallet Recreation Ground to Ridge Road (900 metres).  This railway path is the penultimate section of the Strawberry Line from Yatton to Shepton Mallet.  The land has been kindly made available by the Duchy of Cornwall where we have worked closely with their farming tenant.

The creation of these paths involves an extraordinary number of people when you look a little deeper. Steve Turner has coordinated numerous volunteers throughout, cutting back overgrown railway land, building the drystone wall, laying the hedges and planting nearly 2000 hedgerow bushes and trees. The fencing was installed by Greenway volunteers at their annual camp, the path itself was built by Mark Golding and his team, the drystone wall was supervised by Kevin Toal of Southwest Drystone Walling, field fencing was erected by Toby Moon, and the hedge laying training was provided by Alex Bown.

Kev Daniels undertook the historical research showing why the line of the railway was moved from the more easily graded route via Croscombe (landowner opposition) which would have been more useful in that we could have served that village. And behind this task force, Kelly Knight from Mendip Council ensured that all the correct procedures and formalities were in place in a timely manner so that we in Greenways could get on with the job and deliver what is already proving to be a popular route.

March 10th also saw the opening of the Campus Railway Path adjacent to the Council House in Shepton Mallet.  Although only 110 metres long it provides the crucial benefit of passing under the main Cannard’s Grave Road and it provides a traffic-free link for much of east Shepton to Tesco’s on a daily basis, and to the start of the Greenway to Wells and Cheddar – The Strawberry Line.

The tape was cut by Councillor Ros Wyke (left), who has done so much to nurse the Strawberry Line into a reality, and Hélène Rossiter (right), the Chief Executive of the Historic Railway Estate which manages the main road bridge.

Also, holding the tape on the left is Kelly Knight and on the right, Richard Jones. This event was an opportunity to thank Kelly for all her work to make the Mendip Greenways possible, and who is now taking a well-deserved sabbatical break.

This is the last opening to be arranged by Mendip District Council, which ceases to exist on March 31st when it is reorganised into a single unitary Somerset County Council.