Soon it will be possible to walk, run, scoot or ride from the centre of Frome to the end of Whatcombe Fields near Spring Gardens – without the need for wellies!
The existing tarmacked multi-user path from Welshmill stops by the river, leaving people to continue on through the fields on muddy footpaths. Plans are now in place to continue the route along the river, before it turns towards Selwood Manor and then passes through the wood leading up to the rail crossing. There will be a turning circle at this point, until the path can be extended.
Frome’s Missing Links, which is campaigning to create a safe, traffic-free route from the centre of town to the Colliers Way multi-user path, hopes to start laying a surface on this section as soon as lockdown restrictions are eased. The Colliers Way connects Great Elm to Radstock on a traffic-free route, maintained by Sustrans.
Planning permission was granted in autumn and the group now has promises from Aggregate Industries and Connor Construction to supply and lay some of the tarmac. This will make it possible for people with buggies, scooters, bikes and mobility scooters to enjoy this natural green space, as well as narrowing the gap between this end of the path and the start of the Colliers Way in Great Elm to just 2.5 km.
Volunteers from Frome’s Missing Links worked through the summer to prepare the way for this extension. New hedges have been planted to screen the new route, a cattle grid has been laid and fences put in place.
Chair of Frome’s Missing Links, Richard Ackroyd, said he was eager to move forward. “We’ve had great support from local landowners in the area and our volunteers have put in many hours of hard work so we’re thrilled to be able to move ahead and we’re ready to start laying tarmac, once the lockdown is over. In time, we expect to have the whole length under tarmac, but this is expensive so the initial surface will be probably an aggregate surface until we can raise sufficient funds.”
Once connected with the Colliers Way at Great Elm, people in Frome will have a safe, traffic-free and family-friendly route to Mells, Kilmersdon and Radstock, and a connection onwards on quiet lanes and paths to Bath.
Frome’s Missing Links is also campaigning to create multi-user paths to the south of Frome towards Longleat.