A POPULAR route for cyclists and walkers through Padiham has won a top European award.
The Padiham Greenway, created on the site of the former Rosegrove to Padiham railway line, was given the “Exemplary Initiative” award by the European Greenways Association at a ceremony in Epinal, France.
Environmental charity Sustrans and Lancashire County Council provided the main funding for the £1.5m. greenway, which ends at Padiham’s Memorial Park.
Coun. John Harbour, who was heavily involved in regenerating the former railway line, said: “It’s great to receive not only regional and national but now also international recognition for the project.
“It really has opened up a new world for a variety of people who use the greenway, including the disabled, young and old.
“Our aim is to eventually extend it to Great Harwood. I think Padiham people realise they’ve got something special there now. It is encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles which can only be a good thing.”
The European Greenways Association present awards to the best traffic-free greenways across the continent. It picked out the Padiham Greenway for the way in which it brought together different communities within the town. Local people created a community art project to adorn the route, and a series of events led by local groups took place when the greenway was opened last year.
Mayor of Padiham Coun. Bob Clark said: “I’m delighted with this very prestigious award. The greenway has opened up Padiham greatly and created a tremendous link with other attractions such as the leisure centre.”
Mercedes Muñoz, director of the European Greenways Association, said: “The greenway in Padiham provides not only a striking example of design and construction, but also show that by removing barriers to everyday walking and cycling journeys we can help bring communities together.”