Ribbon cutting ceremony marks another step forward for historic viaduct

Another section of the Martholme Viaduct is to be officially opened tomorrow
Another section of the Martholme Viaduct is to be officially opened tomorrow
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A historic landmark, that was closed for several years after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001, will move another step forward tomorrow.

The official opening of the Simonstone Lane to Gooseleach section of the Martholme Viaduct will be officially opened in a special ribbon cutting ceremony.

This section can be accessed at Simonstone Lane and will link with the Padiham Greenway via Simonstone.

The project will link to the existing public footpaths and 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.

The ceremony is at 7pm and the ribbon cutting will be performed by Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans along with students from Blackburn College who helped to build the bridges in 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.

Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony tomorrow but organisers have pointed out there is limited space at the entrance where the opening takes place but people are more than welcome to join them at the first bridge for the ribbon cutting.