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95


A


local community group is spearheading the opening of a safe, accessible multi-pur-


pose trail for walkers and cyclists between Kingsbridge and South Brent, following the route of the old railway line wherever they can. The Primrose Line was closed by


the Beeching cuts of 1963 and most of the line returned to private owners, but in its day it was feted to be one of the most beautiful branch lines in the country. The route was enveloped in banks of primroses and it passed through the Avon Valley having got there through Sorley Tunnel, a half mile tunnel that runs directly under Sorley Cross just north of Kingsbridge. Although parts of the Avon Valley


are public rights of way, the deep South Hams lacks a truly accessible and flat trail that could be open to all, from young to old, horse riders to walkers, cyclists or disabled. Local residents in Kingsbridge,


South Brent and other settlements came together over a year ago to see if it is feasible to create a low key route along this line that was created by and for the community, without harming the tranquillity of the area. A community group has been


formed that meets on a fortnightly basis, normally in Kingsbridge, with a loose agenda to inform those who might be affected and investigate the trail’s requirements. The group has neither a chair/lead-


er, nor a formal structure or commit- tee. The group consists of young and old, male and female, fit and unfit. Group members have visited every Parish and Town Council and spoken to the majority of landowners along the line, as well as numerous other parties including cycle and walking groups, Authorities and Agencies. The feedback has been over- whelmingly positive, but with the anticipated reticence of some landowners who might be affected. So every effort has been made to accommodate the different views they have encountered. For example, if a landowner does not want a route on their land, alternative routes are investigated. It’s hoped that the route will


improve access to the countryside, provide a safe route to travel along away from cars, increase health and fitness and provide a boost for local businesses. The good news is that after nearly


18 months hard work, the conclusion is that a route of 19 kilometres (12 miles) is feasible from Kingsbridge to South Brent. The route’s development will be split into phases, the first being from Kingsbridge to Loddiswell Station.


THE


PRIMROSE TRAIL EST. 1893


Topsham Bridge


South Brent


Avonwick Diptford


Bickham Bridge


Gara Bridge


Loddiswell Aveton Gifford Sorley Tunnel


Woodleigh


Kingsbridge


Salcombe


To make these phases of devel-


opment reality, the group are now recruiting interested people into working groups of 5 to 10 people to work on specialist aspects of the route. These are: 1. Funding and Primrose Trail status Group 2. Public relations and media/IT 3. Maps and routefinding 4. Land negotiations and agreements 5. Community outreach and involvement 6. Construction, engineering and planning


2019 is going to be an exciting year as the Primrose Trail moves forward. Follow developments on Facebook or get involved!


Are you interested and can you help? If you can, please contact us on primroseline@gmail.com / www.facebook.com/primroseline


THE PRIMROSE TRAIL


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