Greenways and Cycleroutes Limited organised a volunteer workcamp from 13 to 22 September 2019 based at the National Diving and Activity Centre at Tidenham, near Chepstow. Our aim was to repair a bridge and to install and replace boundary fencing on the former railway line between Chepstow and Tintern to sustain momentum while we await planning permission and full funding to complete a walking and cycling route between the diving centre and Tintern.
91 volunteers put in 235 working days. 61 were day visitors, and 30 stayed overnight in tents and vans and chalets. And what a difference we made.
We refurbished the Bishton Lane bridge over the railway line – relocating the props on newly cast concrete foundations, with help from BT we painted the props and pointed the walls transforming this:
We cut through the vegetation at the former Tidenham station to create a laurel arbour with windows.
We cut through a route to Sedbury Lane so we can survey the route for future planning applications, and work out how best Dean Forest Railway can recover the track and installed safety parapets to the bridge over the A48, where others had hacked back the brambles.
We replaced the railway fences above the sheer drop of the retaining walls in the Wye Valley gorge.
Occasionally we stopped to eat and drink in our welcoming camp base.
The 1st Shirenewton Scouts helped us to clear roots and branches from the trackbed.
Our ecologists were in attendance to check that we were complying with the regulations.
What happens next? We are working with Forest of Dean Council to secure the planning permission we need. The process will not be quick, as Natural England need to be sure that we are taking care of the environment. When we have planning permission we will be able to apply for grants. If all goes well we hope to have a further workcamp in the spring for the labour intensive activities of installing lighting and bat shelters in the tunnel, installing seats and sculpture, and tidying back vegetation. We cannot set dates. In a perfect world we would have at least a mountain bike quality route open to Tintern by the summer.
The Wye Valley railway line ran from above Chepstow – (the National Diving and Activity Centre) to Tintern. We have submitted a planning application for its conversion to a walking and cycling route Wye Valley Greenway project document 19 02 02.