Building bridges to bring historic landmark back to life

Martholme Greenway volunteers get stuck into the project. They are (from left to right)  Dr. John Barker,  Bob Anderson, Mary Hargreaves-Barker, Cath Clarkson and Chris Clarkson.

Martholme Greenway volunteers get stuck into the project. They are (from left to right) Dr. John Barker, Bob Anderson, Mary Hargreaves-Barker, Cath Clarkson and Chris Clarkson.

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A campaign to re-open a footpath across the historic Martholme Viaduct, which will link the Ribble Valley with Hyndburn, is steaming ahead.

A campaign to re-open a footpath across the historic Martholme Viaduct, which will link the Ribble Valley with Hyndburn, is steaming ahead.

A section of the Martholme Viaduct which campaigners are working towards bringing back into use for the public

A section of the Martholme Viaduct which campaigners are working towards bringing back into use for the public

Volunteers with the Martholme Greenway group, who want to reinstate the footpath from Read and Simonstone through to Great Harwood, were delighted when Ribble Valley Borough Council granted planning permission to make the path from Simonstone Lane to Gooseleach wood along the old track bed.

This requires the creation of an access at Simonstone Lane and two bridges to replace the ones missing over the old cattle creep areas.

The bridges have been built and are now ready to be installed in the next couple of months. They were made by Lee Paterson and Adam Lucas who are final year engineering degree students at the University Centre at Blackburn College. They undertook the project under the watchful eye of tutor Dr Richard Barker who is also the chairman of Martholme Greenway.

To load test the bridges 56 students and staff, weighing a total of 4.55 tonnes, stood on the bridges.

He said: "This is certainly a huge step forward for the project and although there is still quite a way to go we feel like we are really making progress.

"All the volunteers have worked really hard and we would like to thank Sustrans for their support throughout the project."

The bridge project was financed thanks to a £10,000 grant from the Tesco Bags for Help scheme and over the Easter break volunteers spent several days on the path clearing overgrown areas on the path.

The group was only launched last year but has made great strides forward in giving the historic landmark a new lease of life and also creating a safe circular walking and cycling route.

Exciting plans are also on the drawing board to extend the Padiham Greenway through Read and Simonstone into Hyndburn across the viaduct.

The Greenway links Burnley and Padiham in a picturesque path that is used regularly by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

The campaign is focusing on a public footpath that was in use until 2001 when it was closed due to the foot and mouth epidemic. The section they are concentrating on is owned by Railway Paths Ltd and managed by Sustrans.

Other sections are privately owned and the landlords are opposed to the land being re-opened.

An open day will be held on the viaduct on Monday, May 29th, from 10am to 2pm.