Permissions and funding in place we held a workcamp from 6 to 13 September 2020, with three extra days for local volunteers on 24- 26 September, and the tunnel is now ready to be opened on 1 April 2021. Details of the route are here: Wye Valley Greenway project document 19 02 02.
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.
You can read a summary of what we achieved, and see some more pictures in the Journal prepared by our ‘senior’ volunteer – David Judd
We organised our first workcamp on this route in September 2019, also 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.
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.