Phase 2 of the Chew Valley Recreational Trail will go ahead this autumn.
Works are due to start in August and the trail is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Phase 2 delivers an extended off road route connecting the beauty spot at Herons Green with Woodford Lodge, the Dam, Picnic Area 1, Salt & Malt, Picnic Area 2 and the Grebe Trail to Hollow Brook on the eastern shoreline.
Some of you may know the existing route (Phase 1) that runs from Herons Green Layby to Woodford Lodge, both of which are on the western shoreline. Those that are familiar with the stretch of highway from Woodford Lodge to Chew Stoke will know that today it is neither safe nor suitable for walkers, casual cyclists or horse-riders.
During construction there will be some noise disturbance and deliveries along the sailing club road, as materials are being brought into a compound close to the club’s signing in hut. We’ve been liaising with the contractor to explain when and how the club operates so that the contractor can do its best to minimise disruption. Clearly we apologise for any inconvenience that may still occur and we hope all members understand the community benefit that the trail brings.
This is a partnership project across Bath and North East Somerset, West of England Rural Network, West of England Combined Authority (WECA), the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), Sustrans, Natural England and Bristol Water. It has been years in the making and has from the very start been about listening to the community and respecting all the different stakeholder perspectives. It’s taken quite some balancing and relentless persistence (so it’s been a bit like sailing!), and we’re proud to have secured over £1.6M of external funding (WECA and RPA) for the construction phase.
On behalf of Bristol Water I’d like thank you all for your patience in the months ahead, and for the part you all continue to play in helping to make Chew Valley Lake a special place for so many reasons.
The detail of the route is that it will run broadly NNE along Bristol Water land from Woodford Lodge along the top of woodland to the north west of the club (above the dinghy park). and then drops down to run alongside the sailing club access road. From there it links on to a segregated section on the Dam highway, which itself will be modified to improve road safety (including new proposed speed limits) and around to Picnic Area 1 (Salt & Malt). The trail then upgrades existing trails in the north east sector of Bristol Water’s slim estate around the lake to continue through to Picnic Area 2, and then on through the Grebe Trail to Hollow Brook (near Ham Lane).
Impact on members
During the construction phase there will be a compound in the small car park next to the club’s signing in hut. This car park will be accessed via the sailing club access road, as rapidly there will be a new large embankment for the new trail, meaning no access from the road that currently leads to it. This means there will be construction deliveries along the access road. We’re working with the contractor to be as sensitive as practicable to the club membership in terms of delivery timings. The contractor knows the club’s operating days and general major movements and will do their best to reduce impact. Clearly we apologise for any inconvenience and we hope all members understand the community benefit that the trail brings. We hope that members can enjoy the trail as part of their recreational activities.
There will, I’m sorry to say, be an additional gate installed along the access road. This is necessary be to stop those using the trail from choosing to exit the trail when crossing the sailing club access road and cycle back down the road. Hopefully all members are away of the importance and environmental sensitivity of the species rich grassland in this area along this section of the lake and the need for it to remain largely undisturbed. There is also the public safety risk of unmanaged swimming access that is so very tempting on this stretch once finding yourself upon it, and of course considering the club’s own security interests and liabilities. We continue to work with the club on considering potential schemes for gate automation to facilitate member access and equality of access. This is something that has proved difficult to realise over the years but we must keep trying to achieve it.
Steve Smith, Estates Manager, Bristol Water