August 15, 2017
Shute Shelve Tunnel remains closed
Kier, Bristol Water's subcontractors, have experienced considerable trouble with Shute Shelve Tunnel.
The tunnel, which was meant to re-open in time for the summer holidays, will now be closed until October.
The reason is... unpredictable bats! In order to start work inside the tunnel, Bristol Water first planned on
"harassing" the bats by lighting the tunnel continuously for several weeks. The aim was for the bats to
find somewhere else to live so works could commence without harming them. However, the lights attracted
more invertebrates such as moths (which bats feed on), and so MORE bats (including new species) were
actually attracted to the tunnel than before! This just goes to show what an extraordinary habitat the
tunnel is – and also how little we still understand wildlife behaviour.
One thing is certain though: at the onset of the bats' hibernation period (usually sometime in October),
Natural England stipulates that construction works in the tunnel be suspended and the route re-opened to the public until the spring.
Until then, the diversion remains in place, which unfortunately is barely suitable for road bikes.
July 18, 2017
Strawberry Line diverted between Winscombe and the A38!
Please be warned that the path around Shute Shelve Tunnel is currently closed due to Bristol Water's
Southern Resilience Scheme. A diversion is in place but some path users have pointed out that it isn't really
adequate as a cycle path for road or hybrid bikes. As soon as the tunnel re-opens, we will put an update on this page.
May 2, 2017
SCC candidates respond!
Responses to our open letter are trickling in. Click
here to read.
April 28, 2017
Open letter to Somerset County Council candidates
Today, the Strawberry Line Association and numerous Wells organisations and businesses sent a letter
to all County Council candidates whose division contains the proposed Strawberry Line.
The were asked
specifically whether they were willing to match North Somerset Council's robust commitment to the Yatton–Clevedon extension.
NSC are considering a bridleway order, as well as reviewing their local transport plan for sustainable travel. They are also willing
to directly negotiate with landowners and developers to achieve the path. Read the letter
here. Replies will be published on our Facebook page and on the website.
March 10, 2017
Shute Shelve Tunnel to close after Easter break
After considerable delays,
Bristol Water will now commence construction works for
their Southern Resilience Scheme in the second half of April. This guarantees that
the tunnel will be open throughout the Easter holidays! For more information, please read
Bristol Water's official update.
October 23, 2016
Shute Shelve Tunnel update
Bristol Water will shortly begin works to install a new water mains pipe through
the Shute Shelve Tunnel at Winscombe.
They have nearly finished the cladding work on the tunnel to make sure
the rare rock formations are not damaged during the pipeline work,
also clad are the escape cut-outs in the
tunnel where rail workers coul stand if a train was coming.
The bat population shouldn't be affected as they only use the tunnel
to feed on the spiders and other invertebrates, not to roost or hibernate
as it's too drafty, cold and wet!
The markers for the other end at Winscombe in the Woodborough Field
where the pipeline goes after leaving the line are also in place –
185 houses are due to be built here in the near future.
Work is likely to start in early December. Watch this space for the exact date to be announced!
May 18, 2016
Somerset County Council gives its unanimous support for the Strawberry Line project
This morning, the Strawberry Line Association handed in the petition
to extend the Strawberry Line to a full session of Somerset County Council. Our
presentation (which you can read here) was greeted with applause,
and a vote was carried unanimously in favour of endorsing
the Strawberry Line project. We are thrilled to formally count the County among our supporters.
Presentation of the petition to extend the Strawberry Line
May 10, 2016
Wildflower planting at Dulcote
At the end of April, volunteers of all ages sowed seeds generously
provided by the
Grow Wild wildflower campaign in the clearing next to
the ramp on the Dulcote railway path. On top of that, some also
brought along unwanted cowslips from their lawns! Our plan is to create
and maintain a wildflower meadow, which we have christened "Cooksmead"
after the farmer who generously cleared the field for us over the winter.
Go and watch the flowers grow this summer – it's been rainy and hot
so they should be off to a good start!
March 23, 2016
Refurbishment work complete
The reinstatement and resurfacing work has now largely
been completed this week on the Yatton, Congresbury and Sandford
sections of the Strawberry line from Yatton Station to Thatcher's orchards.
There is some minor works still to be completed but the vast majority
of the line is now in an improved condition compared to before the Weston Power
and Solar Farm construction work started and is now open in time for the Easter holidays. Go
and visit it – it's beautiful, and a real treat to cycle on!
March 6, 2016
Dulcote railway path cleared!
The railway path between Dulcote and Wells has finally been restored
to its original width of 3.2m all the way along the old trackbed. Thanks to
the efforts of countless local volunteers, we managed to clear back two thirds of
the path; the remaining third at the Dulcote end was cleared by Community Payback.
There are plans to improve the path with funds from Tesco's Bags of Help initiative. Watch
this space for updates!
February 16, 2016
Park Wood railway path receives help from Tesco's
Bags Of Help initiative
We are delighted that the Park Wood railway path between Dulcote
and Wells is to be a recipient of Tesco's Bags Of Help initiative. With the
funds, we will be able to carry out vital surface repairs, enhance wildlife along this green
corridor, purchase maintenance power tools, install a new bench, and much more!
Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its
Bags of Help initiative in hundreds of
regions across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects
in each of these regions awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the
5p bag charge.
Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco's 390
regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge
levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store
from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.
January 31, 2016
Strawberry Line resurfacing work
Work to reinstate a section of the Strawberry Line cycle path in Congresbury starts next week.
PS Renewables will be resurfacing the cycle route between Weston Road and Drove Way/Nye Road as
part of an agreement with North Somerset Council. Under this agreement PS Renewables used
the Strawberry Line to access their solar farm project at Carditch Drove, south of Congresbury.
The reinstatement work will take about five weeks to complete and an on-road diversion
route will be signposted during this period if users wish to avoid this section of the route.
Members of the public are advised to take care if they do use this route while the work is
in progress and follow the locally placed advisory signs.
North Somerset Council will be carrying out further resurfacing work on the A370
to Yatton section of the Strawberry Line later in February.
November 6, 2015
Problems on the Cheddar—Axbridge cyclepath
A letter from the chairman of the Axbridge-Cheddar group
Those of you who use this pleasant short route will I know be appalled by its
state, particularly from the Cheddar end and through the cutting. It has been
badly drained and very wet for a long time now. Your committee apologises
profusely for this. We have waited for six years now for a decision from the
authorities about the Sharpham Road Bridge alterations and have also been
adversely affected by the need to dig up the track to provide services for the adjacent new houses.
Throughout this time we thought that the plan remained to widen the
bridge and provide pavements on both sides to give safe routes from
Sharpham Road, down to Cheddar and up to the top of the village.
The Cycleway only came into being because a pupil cycling down
to the Kings of Wessex came off his bike and narrowly missed being
killed by a following coach. Parent concerned about safety came to me
as Head of the school at the time and the Cycleway idea was born and
reached fruition twenty-five years ago.
We strongly oppose the new pedestrian bridge, which leaves
users to cross the road at its most dangerous point (its entrance)
and suggested a safe access route to Wideatts Road from the cycleway,
which bypasses the bridge.
The good news is that a properly constructed and secured ramp
with a one in twenty slope is still in the plans to give wheelchair
users, pedestrians cyclists etc a safe way down to the track.
Since we are now in our seventies, volunteers to help us are badly needed.
Please phone Dulcie Dibley on 742360 or Keith Herring on 743256.
Keith Herring (Chairman, Axbridge-Cheddar Group)
October 20, 2015
Landslip behind Broadleaze Way in Winscombe removed
Contractors have recently finished terracing the bank where a landslip occurred,
and have seeded grass and a variety of wild flowers below the covering hessian matt.
We hope this will solve the problem.
We kindly ask that residents not try to cut trees down on the bank and also
please not to encroach too closely to said bank.
October 5, 2015
Update on solar farm construction
Although all the heavy ballast for tracks and under the solar panels has been delivered,
the panels themselves are still being delivered and fitted. This means a certain amount
of disruption for the next three months or so. The path base itself will not be completely
repaired until all the work has finished.
For updates from the developers themselves, or to make a complaint, click
You are welcome to copy in North Somerset's Principal Green Spaces Officer, Gareth Withers
into any email response you submit.
October 4, 2015
Volunteers commence work on Dulcote path
Yesterday morning, volunteers organised by the Strawberry Line East group (in partnership
with Sunstrans) began restoring the Wells-Dulcote path to its original width of 3.2m. They
tackled a particularly challenging section at the Wells end, which had been reduced to less than
a metre by encroaching brambles leading into the wooded cutting.
The group intends to tackle more in the very near future. If you are interested in taking part
in this highly satisfying activity, please contact Richard Jones at
August 16, 2015
Advance notice of closure
Between Wednesday 2nd September 2015 and Tuesday 15th September 2015,
the Strawberry Line between Weston Road at Congresbury and Drove Way (Nye Road)
at Sandford will be closed to all recreational users and commuters (including all
cyclists, walkers and runners) to enable the safe delivery of material to the Carditch Drove Solar
Farm development. A diversionary route will be available.
For more information, please read North Somerset Council's Advance Notice below.
For updates from the developers themselves, or to make a complaint, go to:
Strawberry Line Closure – Advance Notice
August 10, 2015
Volunteers to maintain Dulcote Path
We are pleased to announce that we will shortly take over maintenance of the Dulcote path.
Arrangements have been made with County Highways that the Strawberry Line East group,
in partnership with Sustrans, will organise local volunteers to
help clear the path and restore it to its original width of 3.2 metres.
Strategically, the Dulcote path is an important traffic-free route.
It forms part of Sustrans NCN3 route connecting Bristol to Cornwall, and
would be part of a proposed route from Wells to Dinder and Croscombe.
It will also, of course, form part of the extended Strawberry Line connecting Clevedon to Shepton Mallet.
A further aspiration of the group is to see the completion of the Somerset Circle
– an 85-mile circular tourist route to rival Devon's 30 mile Tarka Trail,
and Cornwall's 18 mile Camel Trail, boosting the local economy for this part
of Somerset. The Dulcote Path plays an important role for this visionary scheme.
Recently, the group, with Sustrans, went on a fact finding walk along the
path and found it to deteriorate quickly upon entering the cutting from
the Wells end (just past Morrisons Store) due to mud, brambles, nettles and encroaching grass. All of this needs cutting back to reclaim the path's original width.
Work on the path is likely to start in September, but further details
will be posted here and on social media in due course.
For the full press release, click below.
Dulcote Path Press Release
June 24, 2015
Car sticker now available
We are now selling a limited edition car sticker for the bargain
price of £1
(or £1.90 if you order online). Click
here to get yours now.
June 3, 2015
Leader of Somerset County Council joins us for a bike ride
John Osman, the leader of Somerset County Council, offered to cycle and discuss
the proposed route from Cheddar to Wells with us, and last Saturday morning he was joined by
campaigners and the local Sustrans area manager for an in-depth tour. The meeting was
very positive, and enjoyable. The fact that it didn't rain helped too!
We greatly appreciate the interest and support that he displayed for the project
(as well as his unique insights as a County councillor), and very much look
forward to working more closely with him in the future.
April 29, 2015
District council candidates back the project!
Check out our ever-growing list of candidates keen to support the
Strawberry Line Association in completing the path here.
April 26, 2015
The SLA seeks political support
As we consider the prospect of submitting smaller planning
applications at District level we are interested in seeing who
is prepared to go beyond bland statements of support 'in principle'
and is prepared to work with us to make things happen. If elected
as District councillor on May 7, who would support a Strawberry Line
Steering Group comprised of local councillors and community activists
to move the project forward? In North Somerset and BANES, local
councillors and traffic-free path campaigners form a dynamic union
– why not here in Somerset?
The Strawberry Line Association has therefore sent
a letter to all District council candidates in Somerset
whose ward is on, or
very close by, the trackbed. These include:
- Croscombe and Pilton (Mendip)
- Rodney and Westbury (Mendip)
- Shepton East (Mendip)
- Shepton West (Mendip)
- St Cuthbert Out North (Mendip)
- Wells Central (Mendip)
- Wells St Cuthberts (Mendip)
- Wells St Thomas (Mendip)
- Wookey and St Cuthbert Out West (Mendip)
- Cheddar & Shipham (Sedgemoor)
We intend to publish all candidates' replies through our website, social
media and our emailing list so that everyone passionate about
the Strawberry Line Path knows which candidates are equally keen to make it happen.
Letter to District council candidates
April 1, 2015
Good news for Shepton Mallet!
A crucial section of the Strawberry Line that would run right
through the heart of Shepton Mallet is one step closer to being built.
This week, Sustrans will submit a planning application to Mendip
District Council to extend the Millennium Way on the southern edge
of Collett Park on through the council car park and the railway cutting
under Cannards Grave Road to Station Road, behind Tesco's. This course
would follow the old Strawberry Line trackbed all the way
PDF of the potential course of the Strawberry Line through central Shepton Mallet
Some 18 months ago Shepton Town Council contributed £5,100 to
Sustrans to cover the cost of a full survey of the railway cutting
and bring it to planning application stage. This is a wonderful
illustration of what can be achieved when councils take the lead,
hopefully setting an example to other land owners and councils where
such paths are desperately needed.
From Station Road the former railway line going west is protected
in the Local Plan 206-2018 as a "Safeguarded Corridor for Sustainable Travel".
The first housing development going west has vehicular access via an
access road from Station Road, which goes as far as Hitchin Lane. A
second planning application is now with Mendip for 13 houses on land
west of Hitchin Lane with a similar agreement for access from Station
Road and through the first development.
A condition for these developments was that the Strawberry Line
path has shared use along the quiet access road and that at the west
end a short stretch of path will be constructed to rejoin the former
railway line heading towards Kent Lane. From this point the track
bed of the former railway going west is almost entirely intact with
no built obstructions.
Potential course of Strawberry Line through central Shepton
March 15, 2015
SLA runs successful charity stall at Wells Market
On March 14, the Strawberry Line Association set up a charity stall at Wells Market
to offer the public the opportunity to meet us campaigners, garner further information, view plenty of maps
(people were especially enthralled by the Somerset Circle!)
and purchase a Strawberry Line mug. We were thrilled by the enthusiastic
response we received from market-goers, and collected many more signatures for our petition, with the grand
total now standing at 2,600!
In addition, two parliamentary candidates for the Wells
constituency found the time to visit us and show their support for the project.
Chris Inchley (Labour) turned up bright and early for an in-depth chat, and current MP
Tessa Munt (Liberal Democrats) ardently canvassed with us for several hours, which was hugely appreciated. Both candidates
bought mugs as well!
January 16, 2015
Strawberry Line Association sends open letter to Somerset County Council
In light of Somerset County Council's
current consultation on Rights of Way Improvement Plan,
the steering group of the Strawberry Line Association has written an open letter to councillor Harvey Siggs regarding the ambiguous stance the County Council
has displayed towards the project, and asks how committed the Council is to completing the path. Read the letter, and sign a petition calling for the Strawberry
Line extension, here.
December 22, 2014
Strawberry Line problem with Somerset County Council reaches parliament!
In a request to the Leader of the House on December 4 2014, Tessa Munt the MP for Wells said:
"May we have some parliamentary time to consider the disused railway line between Cheddar and Wells,
which could provide a much safer alternative for pedestrians and cyclists who currently have to use the very dangerous A371?
All the preparations have been done, involving hours of voluntary time and slugs of taxpayers' money, by way of county council officers'
time, but the county council has prevented the Strawberry Line campaign submitting its planning application because it says that funding
for the path is not in place. Will the Leader of the House encourage the council to dust the application off, as it is shovel-ready and
funding is available, but it is dependent on planning permission?"
September 2, 2014
The planning application 2014/0803 discussed below was withdrawn.
July 24, 2014
Extension past Yatton edges closer to reality
On July 9 2014, a planning application to build up to 150 dwellings off Arnolds Way in Yatton was
approved (14/P/0191/O). The land in question includes part of the old trackbed leading out of Yatton towards Clevedon.
The decision to approve the application was subject to the landowner entering into the Section 106 Agreement, part
of which would be the provision of a 790-yard cyclepath across the site using the former railway.
An improved link across Horsecastle to Yatton railway station (where the Strawberry Line currently ends) is also being sought
by Yatton Parish Council, which would provide a seamless extension all the way to Kingston Bridge.
This means that there is the strong possibility of two thirds of a mile of new Strawberry Line.
It would connect Yatton to Kingston Bridge, the residents on the new development to the railway station, and bring
the Strawberry Line to within two miles of the outskirts of Clevedon - a mouthwatering prospect!
June 22, 2014
Proposed housing development in Westbury-sub-Mendip
In June 2014 The Church Commission of England submitted a planning application (2014/0803)
to Mendip District Council for "outline planning permission for up to 64 dwellings,
a new access from Wells Road (A371), a pedestrian/cycle/emergency access from Station Road,
together with open space, drainage ponds, car parking and associated infrastructure.
All other matters (layout, scale, landscaping and appearance) are reserved for subsequent approval".
As this 10 acre meadow known as Broadmead includes land that was formerly
the Strawberry Line railway track, the Strawberry Line Association has written to the
planning department requesting that in the event of the application being approved an agreed
sum should be included in any S106 agreement as a contribution to the construction of the path.