Multi-function paths provide alternative to busy roads

Routes around Rossendale completes in Lancashire

Profitts – Investing in Communities has now completed its ‘Routes around Rossendale’ project in Lancashire.

‘Routes around Rossendale’ is the name given to a section of disused railway line in Stacksteads that has been  turned into a new multi user path.

This project was part of a wider scheme to create the ‘Valley of Stone Greenway’ which will link Rawtenstall town centre in Rossendale with Rochdale town centre, over 20km away. It will be a predominantly off road route for walkers, cyclists and horseriders (following the disused railway line) and will join up all existing sections of National Cycle Network Regional Route 92 and eventually link with Regional Route 91 to the north and Route 6 in the west.

The Valley of Stone Greenway was designed and planned in 2013 by John Grimshaw, (founder of cycling charity, Sustrans) working with both Rossendale and Rochdale Borough Councils and Lancashire County Council. The aim is to create a safe and accessible route to take users away from the narrow and winding main roads that run through the steep sided Rossendale Valley. It will act as a commuter route for cyclists as well as a recreation facility for horseriders and walkers.

Proffitts – Investing in Communities took the  opportunity to raise funds for ‘Routes around Rossendale’ as this linked in with another path improvement project it had recently completed at Stacksteads Riverside Park. Proffitts  worked closely with John Grimshaw on the proposals and was successful in raising funds from Natural England and Lancashire Environmental Fund to complete this 1km section of route.

Planning consent was required for the project due to the nature of the works involved which included:

– Change of use
– Engineering works to regrade steep bankings to create accessible gradients of 1:20
– Significant tree felling and replacement planting
– Drainage works and the actual path creation

Consent was granted in May 2013 but discharge of the conditions was finalised in in January 2014. Approval for the replacement planting had to be agreed not only with Development Control but local residents whose properties are adjacent to the new route. Construction work started on site immediately and was completed this spring.

The overall project also aims to encourage the community to get involved and explore the countryside further. The following training events are to be held in and around Stacksteads:

– Hedgelaying
– Tree and shrub pruning
– Outdoor first aid
– Bikeability.

In addition to this, guided walks and horserides were arranged throughout the Spring to introduce people to the existing rights of way and bridleways in and around Rossendale. A series of circular walks was signposted with an accompanying leaflet detailing eight walks. These are graded in terms of difficulty and are linked to the public transport network with the aim of proving how easy it is to begin a healthier lifestyle, building up strength and stamina gradually.

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