Posts Tagged ‘Natural England’
The Wye Valley Greenway provides a sustainable way to explore the beautiful Lower Wye Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Greenways and Cycleroutes Limited organised a volunteer work camp from 13 to 22 September 2019 based at the National Diving and Activity Centre at Tidenham, near Chepstow.
Their 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 they await planning permission and full funding to complete a walking and cycling route between the National Diving & Activity Centre and Tintern. This will form part of the overall safe route; the Wander Wye from the Severn Bridge to Monmouth proposed by A-B Connecting Communities who provided a grant in June of £5000 to Greenways.
• 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 was made.
• Refurbishing the Bishton Lane bridge over the railway line – relocating the piers on newly cast concrete foundations transforming the structure.
• The fallen rocks were collected and rebuilt the wingwalls, repointing them with lime putty and with much help from BT, wire brushed and repainted the piers.
• The field fence was repaired between the railway land and the Gloucestershire Way and replaced the railway fences above the sheer drop of the retaining walls in the Wye Valley gorge.
• The vegetation was cut through at the former Tidenham station to create a laurel arbour with windows, and safety parapets installed to the bridge over the A48, where others had hacked back the brambles.
• The First Shirenewton Scouts helped to clear roots and branches from the track bed.
• A route was cut through 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.
• The Ecologists were in attendance to check that we were complying with the regulations.
No work was completed in the tunnel at all – as their Bat licence did not come through in time, so unfortunately the repairs to the walls and the planned installation of new gates will have to wait. The temporary fences were simply covered with tarpaulins to reduce airflow through the tunnel.
What happens next?
Greenways 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 about environmental issues. When they have planning permission we will be able to apply for grants.
There is still some finishing off to do to the pointing of the wing walls, and they are planning to set up a local volunteering group to help us to complete this.
If all goes well Greenways hope to have a further work camp 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. In a perfect world there would have at least a mountain bike quality route open to Tintern by the summer.