MP thanks volunteers and students for making dream to open historic viaduct a reality

Volunteers and the public gather for the historic re-opening of a section of the Martholme Viaduct
Volunteers and the public gather for the historic re-opening of a section of the Martholme Viaduct
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A historic landmark, that was closed for several years after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001, has re-opened.

The official opening of the Simonstone Lane to Gooseleach section of the Martholme Viaduct was carried out in a special ribbon cutting ceremony by Ribble Valley MP Mr Nigel Evans.

Nigel Evans, Ribble Valley MP, cuts the ribbon marking the opening of another section of the Martholme Viaduct

Nigel Evans, Ribble Valley MP, cuts the ribbon marking the opening of another section of the Martholme Viaduct

Volunteers and the public gathered for the event held in glorious sunshine last Thursday evening.

Mr Evans described this section of the viaduct, which can be accessed at Simonstone Lane and will link with the Padiham Greenway via Simonstone, as an asset to the community with some stunning views.

This section also links to the existing public footpaths and will encourage people to walk out into their countryside that is on their doorstep. And walkers can continue along the public footpaths which cross the railway at Gooseleach Wood.

Volunteers who have helped were also thanked by Mr Evans for their help and efforts.

The magnificent Martholme Viaduct

The magnificent Martholme Viaduct

He also paid tribute to students from Blackburn College who constructed the bridges on this section.

The viaduct, which spans the River Calder and parts of the Ribble Valley, was officially opened last year for public access for the first time since it was closed due to the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.

Over the past 18 months the viaduct has undergone significant repairs and general tidying up in readiness for the official opening.

One of the major milestones set by the Martholme Greenway group, which has worked tirelessly to bring the viaduct back to life, was to create a path to link the Padiham Greenway to Great Harwood for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Martholme Greenway volunteers have worked with Sustrans and Railway Paths Ltd.

Martholme Greenway has also commissioned the refurbishment of the paths around the area known as the Martholme sidings and pit site which are use to access the viaduct.

The refurbishment of the paths has been funded by grants from the Lancashire Environmental Fund, the Hyndburn Windfall Fund and Tesco bags of help scheme. This has improved the accessibility of the area to walkers, horses, cyclists and disabled users.