Winscombe section of Strawberry Line reopens

The section of the Strawberry Line near Winscombe has reopened in time for the late May bank holiday, North Somerset Council has said.

Part of the popular heritage trail was closed, and a diversion put in place, while Bristol Water laid a new water pipe as part of their £27m Southern Resilience Scheme, which reinforces the water supply to 280,000 customers across North Somerset.

The Strawberry Line is a 10-mile route through varied landscapes of wildlife-rich wetlands and rural villages between Yatton and Cheddar.

It follows the dismantled Cheddar Valley Railway Line and forms part of the National Cycle Network route 26.

A council spokesperson said that the reopening had been delayed after poor weather and roosting bats disrupted works, but the trail is now fully open to members of the public.

Visitors using the Winscombe section will also benefit from new surfacing in the Shute Shelve Tunnel, along with new reflective white lining and cats eyes.

The majority of the route is designated as a Local Nature Reserve, providing habitats for a diversity of wildlife.

The rhynes (drainage ditch or canal) at the Yatton end of the line are also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the national importance of the aquatic plant communities the rhynes support.

Councillor Peter Bryant, North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for parks and green spaces, said: “We appreciate that Bristol Water have faced some unforeseen difficulties during their works, but we are pleased there will eventually be improved facilities for people using the Strawberry Line – particularly within the newly resurfaced Shute Shelve Tunnel.

“Bristol Water is also working to improve the lighting in the tunnel and for the time being we’d ask pedestrians and cyclists to use lights while travelling through the tunnel.”

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Hello! I'm KATE, a journalist, editor and broadcaster with 20 years experience in the industry. I have worked at the BBC, ITV, Heart and Sky Sports News.

I've lived in Somerset for most of my life and set up LOVE SOMERSET ONLINE in 2016. I love the seaside and am partial to a good gin and tonic.

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