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Overgrown bridleway set for a makeover in Swansea

(Adobe Stock)

An overgrown and neglected bridleway in a Swansea community is being given a new lease of life in a bid to encourage more use by walkers and cyclists.

Swansea Council has secured more than £1.8 million of Welsh Government Active Travel funding to create a series of cycling links in the Sketty and Mayals communities.

Part of the funding is being invested in a 2.5km cycle lane which will follow the path of the existing bridleway, across an old landfill site in Clyne Valley.

The new route will include a safer and more accessible surface, enabling wheelchair users and families with very young children in buggies to enjoy the route. The new path will also provide a safe walking route for pupils of nearby Olchfa Comprehensive School.

Once completed, the route will link up with the established National Cycle Network – route 4, giving cyclists more options to commute across the city.

Swansea already has approximately 120kms of purpose built cycle network, much of which has been developed using WG active travel funding.

The Council received more than £5millon in 2020 and the new Olchfa link will form part of nine kilometres of new cycle track being created in 2021.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement & Infrastructure Management, said: “The Olchfa link is part of our wider plans to create more cycle lanes in Swansea. Active Travel seeks to get more people using bikes instead of cars to commute to work. We also want it to serve as a more accessible walking route for everyone.

“At present, the bridleway is badly maintained and has become overgrown over many years. We know a small number of local people enjoy using the route and we want others to be able enjoy the same benefits, while at the same time encouraging more people to get on a bike and leave the car at home.

“This Authority, by committing to Climate Emergency, is determined to create infrastructure across Swansea to help make the modal shift from a high dependency car culture to that of much more environmentally friendly modes of transport”

The Council has also drafted in an independent ecologist to help provide expertise of the existing bridleway and ensure wildlife is protected. When the work’s completed new interpretation and information boards will be set up so visitors can enjoy learning about the heritage and ecology of the area.

Other routes currently being developed in Swansea also include a new hybrid cycle path along Mayals Road and will provide a direct link between the seafront along Swansea Bay and Gower common.