Cyclists and walkers will soon be able to avoid a busy road and take a five-mile traffic-free route from Uphill to Brean.
The long-awaited section of the Coastal Towns shared-use route will officially be opened at noon on Friday (7 July) by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset Annie Maw. The route will be named the Brean Down Way.
“It means cyclists can now bypass the long, busy and often hazardous Accommodation Road,” said Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s executive member for highways and transport.
“In addition, the route is intended to increase tourism in the region by allowing easy access between the two resorts of Weston and Brean. That has been a long-awaited link for many residents and tourists to the two destinations.
“The route also forms part of the long-distance National Cycle Route 33, which will eventually connect Bristol and Dorset.”
North Somerset Council has worked in partnership with the charity Greenways and Cycleroutes, the Environment Agency, Wessex Water, Natural England, Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council and their contractors, Brean Parish Council, the National Trust and landowners to open this route.
A recent Greenways and Cycleroutes volunteer work camp built the field section of the path and the ‘Great Bird Screen of Brean’ and a previous work camp built the 900-metre section approaching the sluice on the North Somerset side. The screen protects birdlife roosting grounds on the mudflats at Brean from cyclists and walkers who might disturb them.
Then in May the final leg from the sluice to the beach at Brean was completed in partnership with Somerset County Council and their contractors Draytons.
The final set of works have seen the installation of safety and security fencing on the sluice. Other works are being carried out by the Environment Agency to replace the sluice gates ahead of the opening. These works have been brought forward a year to prevent the new path from being closed again in the future.
The total cost of the sluice works is £50,000 of which North Somerset Council is paying £25,000. Works are being done by Kingcombe Aquacare and are due to finish in time for the opening.
North Somerset Council has funded the project on the north side of the sluice with £329,000 from the Local Growth Fund and Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
Funding for the south side of the sluice works totalled £250,000 and was obtained through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the Hinkley Point Community Impact Mitigation Fund and the Coastal Communities Fund.