The first of South Ribble’s Green Links pathways was officially opened by Councillor Mick Titherington, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure at South Ribble Borough Council.
Pupils from Walton-le-Dale primary school, local residents and cyclists were also on hand to take part in the first official trip along the pathway.
The new pathway has been created as part of the Green Links project following a programme of works undertaken by South Ribble Borough Council. The Green Links network looks to provide connections between green spaces, places, features and themed walks in and around South Ribble to improve the environment and wellbeing of residents.
The Dog Kennel and Cockshott woods pathway is designed to be fully accessible and used for walking, cycling and as a bridleway for horse-riding. The route connects Brownedge Close in Bamber Bridge with Hennel Lane in Walton-le-Dale - a distance of just over 1 mile.
The path provides a safe cycle route, running parallel with the A6, connecting to the Capitol Centre, Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre and the Old Tram Road.
Councillor Mick Titherington said: “The purpose of the green link at Dog Kennel Wood is to encourage leisure uses – cycling, walking, running and horse-riding. The pathway also increases the options for green transport routes around the borough helping South Ribble residents to adopt a more active lifestyle. This project has also opened up the Dog Kennel and Cockshott woods for recreational use where before it was overgrown and un-useable. I am very pleased to open this new green link and hope that lots of residents make use of it.”
The path is three metres wide with a self-binding gravel surface that replaces the previous narrow muddy footpath. Some trees have been cut back to make space for the path and works have included the creation of ponds and swales for natural drainage. At the Brownedge Close end benches have been installed alongside the pond so that walkers and cyclists can take a rest and enjoy the environment.
The woodland along the path includes mainly broadleaf species including birch, sycamore, cherry and ash trees. The natural habitat will also provide homes for wildlife and bees.
The Green Links programme aims to help improve the air quality in South Ribble by providing green transport routes. This Dog Kennel wood pathway is the first section of an ambitious programme of new green links for pedestrians and cyclists. A further 7 km of the Leyland Loop green links are planned to be completed and open by March 2020.
Walton-le-Dale Primary school’s year five pupils enjoyed their walk along the path and helping with the opening – their comments included “It will encourage people to walk to school”, “it all looks very pretty” and “it will help reduce the number of cars and pollution”.
Pictured: Councillor Mick Titherington, Walton-le-Dale Primary School Year 5 pupils, Outram House residents, Jennifer Mullin (South Ribble Director), South Ribble’s Sports Development & Projects team members