Frome’s Missing Links volunteers and supporters are celebrating another small milestone towards the completion of a traffic free route between the town and the end of the Colliers Way path at Great Elm.
Anyone who has ridden or walked along the lovely riverside path towards Whatcombe fields has probably asked, “Why does this end so suddenly at Low Water?” No doubt you’ve always wondered if anyone would ever get around to extending this. Well, it’s been a while, but at long last some progress has been made. Thanks to the work of volunteers and generous donations by local businesses the tarmac path now extends a further 150m to a cattle grid, with further extension work to come.
Chair of Frome’s Missing Links, Richard Ackroyd explains, “We are extremely grateful for the help and assistance from some key people and organisations. First, thank you to the landowners, Katherine and Ian for allowing this section of the path to cross their land. Without them the whole project would have been impossible. A massive callout and heartfelt thanks go to Mrs Angela Yeoman and her team, who provided expert people power and specialist equipment. Aggregate Industries provided over 100 tonnes of materials free of charge, which is amazing. Big thanks should also go to hauliers RH & AJ Bateman Ltd who provided free transport of materials to the site. We are also indebted to Connor Construction Ltd for laying almost 40 tonnes of tarmac, again completely free of charge. All of these people and organisations were extremely professional and worked alongside our volunteers to engineer a high quality outcome that will be enjoyed by young and old for many years to come.”
Building a path is a complex process involving many stages. After initial survey work, drawings, consultation and planning permission was gained, volunteers had to first construct a culvert crossing, install a cattle grid (reclaimed from the Orchardleigh estate) install gates, fences and dig cross drainage channels before actual path construction could take place.
Laying the path began with digging a 150mm deep trench into the ground and this was then covered by a geo-fabric layer, which in turn was covered by a 150mm deep layer of drystone aggregate to form a sub-base. This was then topped off with a 60mm thick asphalt layer, which was then rolled flat to make a hardwearing surface suitable for all forms of active travel.
“We are probably a couple of years behind where we expected to be at this stage,” continued Richard. “Our hope was to have this section completed last year, but with the epidemic we had to halt activities and postpone works twice until it was safe to continue. It was also important to have dry weather, which luckily we managed to get this week.”
Frome’s Missing Links have also been working closely with Sustrans, Greener Greenways and Cycle Routes Ltd, Frome Town Council and Mendip District Council, who each in different ways have contributed expertise and funding towards the project.
Frome’s Missing Links is campaigning to create a safe, traffic-free route from the centre of town to the Colliers Way multi-user path. The Colliers Way connects Great Elm to Radstock on a traffic-free route, maintained by Sustrans. 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.
Rich Ackroyd, Chair Frome’s Missing Links