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The Strawberry Line

Andrew Mallender
Tel: 01275 888 538
email: andrew.mallender@n-somerset.gov.uk

´╗┐The Strawberry Line is a 10 mile route that currently stretches from Yatton to Cheddar. Its wide level paths make it an ideal place for individuals and families to enjoy a leisurely walk or cycle. A map of the line is available from local Tourist Information Centres and libraries or click here to view a pdf.

The Strawberry Line was built as a railway line, completed in 1869, to carry strawberries from Cheddar - thus giving the line its name. The line closed in 1965 and became part of the Cheddar Valley Railway Nature Reserve. In 1983 work began on the line to develop it into a path that could be enjoyed by many people. As well as walking and cycling, a stretch in Congresbury is also available for horse riders to enjoy.

Future developments
In the past couple of years a group made up of North Somerset employees, Councillors, Parish Councillors and members of the Cheddar Valley Railway Society, have been meeting to discuss ways to improve the line and to encourage a wider variety of people to use it. With many exciting - and expensive - projects planned, it was decided the way forward was to break them down into manageable phases. The first phase of work, to improve access, is now nearly complete.

The first phase
Work has been carried out along the route from Winscombe to Sandford. This entire stretch has now been resurfaced with limestone chippings making it easier for bikes, pushchairs and wheelchairs. There have also been new gates installed at Winscombe where the line can be accessed from the recreation field. These are cycle and wheelchair friendly. A number of other areas along the line have also had improvements made, paths have been widened and new ramps installed.

Winscombe Station
The Winscombe Station has been restored to its original state. This is situated near the Millenium Square. A time line has been developed along the platform, taking people on a journey through time. At the other end of Winscombe, on the way towards Axbridge and Cheddar, there is an interesting tunnel. Children especially, find this fun, shouting at the tops of their voices and waiting for their echoes to call them back! The tunnel also protects a rich variety of wildlife. Recently work has been carried out here to install small lights on the ground as a trail through the tunnel.

Route extension
There are many more projects planned for the line, one of the most exciting being the route extension. It is hoped that the line can be extended North to Clevedon and further East to Wells. Plans are also being made for a scenic route on an old light railway to Congesbury via Wrington and Blagdon. Other plans for the future include various attractions, very much like the Winscombe Station, that will be based around the history of the line.

If anyone would like to become more involved with the Strawberry Line and its future plans you can contact the Cheddar Valley Railway Society at www.cheddarvalleywalk.org.uk. The Society have a number of volunteer working parties involved in conservation work and keeping the route clear.

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