New countryside walking and cycling route near Coventry city centre takes a step forward – Coventry City Council
Exciting plans to create a new countryside walking and cycling route near Coventry city centre have taken another step forwards.
Work is now underway on Phase One of the Loop Line route which has been funded by a £200,000 grant from the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Better Streets Community Fund and is being delivered by Coventry City Council in partnership with Historic Coventry Trust.
Phase One of the woodland route will run from the new Binley Road Cycleway at Gosford Green to Gosford Park School/Humber Avenue walkway and provides increased accessibility for local residents as well as an attractive leisure route.
Further phases will see the route extended to the full 1km length of the disused railway line to connect with the southern end of Charterhouse Heritage Park, a wildlife area close to the mainline railway.
Close by is the seven-bay Grade II Listed Sherbourne Viaduct, designed by Robert Stephenson in 1836 to carry the world’s first major inter-city railway over the River Sherbourne.
The path will continue back to the city centre past the Charterhouse Carthusian monastery, which is currently being restored by Historic Coventry Trust as a major visitor attraction.
Planning permission for all the phases of the Loop Line have been granted, and funding has been granted from Severn Trent Community Fund towards the construction cost of the remaining phases. It is hoped that all phases will be completed in 2023.
The Loop Line was laid out to bypass Coventry Station for goods traffic only. It was completed in 1914 and closed in 1963. The disused line was sold off to private owners and fenced off to exclude any public access.
The land was acquired by Historic Coventry Trust in August 2018 to open up the area to the community. The line was originally devoid of any vegetation, but natural re-wilding has created urban woodland which is now protected by tree preservation orders.
It was designated as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ in 2013 following a campaign by Historic Coventry Trust with the local Charterhouse community which paved the way for acquisition.
Councillor Patricia Hetherton, cabinet member for city services at Coventry City Council, said: “These plans are great because they’ll create a really fantastic access route to and from the city centre, providing an opportunity for greener travel, whether it be walking or cycling.
“The route will connect to the new Binley Road Cycleway and will also pass by some historic buildings, which will create a very pleasant journey for users traveling in and out of the city centre.
“Once the work is finished, I’m sure this will be an area that’s enjoyed by local people and visitors.
Ian Harrabin, Chairman of Historic Coventry Trust, said there had been a great deal of hard work to reach this stage of the scheme.
“We are grateful to the Council and our funding partners for their support with the Loop Line which has an extremely interesting history,” he said.
“Once the Loop Line is open this will provide a fantastic woodland walk and cycle route for all ages as part of the Charterhouse Heritage Park which will be enjoyed by residents and visitors to the city.
“It is great to see work getting underway to start clearing the site to uncover another of Coventry’s historical gems.”
Claire Williams, head of cycling and walking with the WMCA, said: “The Better Streets Community Fund was set up to support local groups deliver cycling and walking schemes that they believe could make a difference in their area. Grants have been given towards cycle storage racks, school crossings and improved pathways and cycle routes across the West Midlands.
“Now it is fantastic to see Historic Coventry Trust getting to work on their Loop Line project to create a pleasant place to walk and cycle.”