The route was opened to the public on 1 April 2021, by Nia Parry a pupil from Wyedean School, who opened the gates and turned on the lights to the tunnel. Nia won a school competition to design the following logo for the route.
Please see the dedicated Wye Valley Greenway site for details of the route, the opening times of the tunnel and the use of lights.
A brief construction history
In September 2019 our first workcamp had 91 volunteers putting 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 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.
The 1st Shirenewton Scouts helped us to clear roots and branches from the trackbed.
At the same September 2019 workcamp, our wonderful camp artist, Kate Lowry, captured the light and the spirit of the camp in her vibrant watercolours:
The Wye Valley railway line ran from above Chepstow – (the National Diving and Activity Centre) to Tintern. In December 2019 we submitted a planning application to extend the proposed Wye Valley Greenway over the A48 as far as Wyedean School. Wyedean School to Bishton Lane Planning document. The planning reference is P1735/19/FUL.
The other planning application relates to Dayhouse Quarry to Black Morgan’s Wood.
The team of local volunteers has worked unbelievably hard since Christmas 2020 to make the route a delight to all. They have put in fences, benches and signs, bat boxes and dormouse boxes. They have cleared away mounds of rubbish, and planted trees and flowers, and they have built and installed a bridge for walkers and pedestrians over the A48. Our heartfelt thanks to all involved, but particularly to Jeremy Cowen, who has planned, designed, led and cajoled everyone with great good humour. Details are on the volunteers website https://www.wyevalleygreenway.org/
Our Wye Valley volunteers, socially distanced, installed fencing and a gate on the Bishton Lane ramp – thanks to Jeremy Cowen and team for coordinating this.
In November 2020 we secured planning permission in place for the link from the Diving Centre to Wyedean School, using a section of Sedbury Lane. Work is continuing on building the sections of the route north and south of the tunnel, and all being well, we plan to open the whole route in April 2021.
Read the story of the 2020 workcamp written by our senior volunteer, David Judd here.
Over 70 volunteers contributed over 300 days work between them and achieved all we could have hoped for and more. The tunnel is surfaced and lit. It has exit signs and distance markers. We have installed a shield under the ventilation shaft and kerbs to steer people away from the rocky edges too. We have installed bat improvements agreed with Natural England including stopping the drafts in roof voids, installing little bat boxes and bricking up some alcoves and installing baffles above others to create more sheltered places for hibernation, and boarding up the gates to reduce airflow.
If you wish to volunteer yourself, please visit our Volunteering page.
An excellent video about the path and its construction, made by Graham Bickerdike of Forgotten Relics, can be viewed here.
The work has been funded by the Rural Payments Agency LEADER Programme, to whom we are very grateful.
Greenways and Cycleroutes Limited organised a third volunteer workcamp from 18 to 25 September 2021 based at the National Diving and Activity Centre at Tidenham, near Chepstow, with the aim of adorning the Wye Valley Greenway, opened on 1 April 2021. 53 volunteers put in…Keep reading