Cycling charity Sustrans is saying a big thank you to volunteers who helped build a new path in the UK.
Over the past three weeks some 80 people from all over the country got stuck in creating the new cycling and walking route in the village of Flax Bourton in North Somerset. Despite torrential rain at times, the group succeeded in building a 1.3mile traffic-free route between Backwell Bow and Farleigh Green.
Volunteers cleared vegetation and brambles from the site, helped to lay the cycling and walking path and installed benches and gates along the route.
A team from n:gage, coach company National Express' graduate programme, also joined the team for a couple of days to help construct the path. Many of the workers camped near to the site at the local Backwell School. To thank the helpers at the Flax Bourton camp for their hard work, Sustrans organised a celebratory barbecue and party, with the help of Flax Bourton Parish Council.
The new path forms part of National Cycle Network Route 33 and will allow people to cycle between Long Ashton and Nailsea without using busy main roads. The eastern section of the route will also help plug a gap in the footpath network so people can enjoy walking from Clevedon to Bristol without using a main road.
Almost 30 miles of the National Cycle Network have been built by volunteers at Sustrans workcamps. "Workcamps are something we do annually," organiser Judith Pope told BikeRadar. "We go around the UK. This one was great because it was near our offices in Bristol, so our staff could get involved.
"The camp was brilliant. Local people were walking by and giving us chocolates, and cider! We had about 80 volunteers working over three weeks. The first week was pretty bad because of the rain. Even now the ground is still soft from it all."
The new path complements plans for Sustrans' Connect2 project in the area to build a series of cycling and walking routes linking Bristol, Long Ashton, Nailsea and Backwell in the South West.
Sustrans Connect2 project has been shortlisted for a grant of up to £50million in the Big Lottery Fund's Living Landmarks 'The People's Millions' competition. Connect2 will be up against five other schemes, with the winner to be ultimately decided by a televised public vote on ITV1 in December 2007. The project aims to join up the dots between communities, amenities, and the countryside and consists of some 79 projects that will develop new walking and cycling routes around the UK.
© BikeRadar 2007