Work has started on the Solway Coaster project, which will see a 14.1km route between Allonby and Silloth created, joining onto the established cycleway between Maryport and Allonby.
The link between the coastal towns will form part of the National Cycle Network Route 72 – Hadrian’s Cycleway – which runs from Ravenglass, Cumbria, to South Shields in Tyne and Wear.
Works are being carried out by Eric Wright Civil Engineering following a tender process earlier this year.
Allerdale Borough Council has taken the lead on delivering the project on behalf of the Silloth-on-Solway Coastal Community Team. WYG is acting as contract manager for the local authority.
To fund the project the CCT secured £1m from the DCLG’s Coastal Communities Fund and a further £250,000 from DEFRA’s Rural Development Programme for England, part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
The path is aimed predominantly at cyclists, but the off-road sections will be multi-functional and accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. A total of 4.63km of the new route will be ‘off road’ and 9.47km ‘on road’. The ‘on road’ sections of the route will utilise the existing carriageway and will include appropriate signage, markings and line painting.
Cllr John Cook, Allerdale’s executive member for leisure and tourism, said: “Cycling has always been a popular activity in this part of the world with people coming from far and wide. But now more than ever as people are increasingly looking to get active outdoors, areas like Allerdale are well placed to cater for these types of visitors.
“Due to the pandemic, many local authorities are increasingly looking at ways to improve their cycling and pathway infrastructure. We are pleased to play a key role in providing a high-quality cycleway which will enable more and more people to actively enjoy this picturesque part of the world.”
Some of the funding will also be used to resurface the existing section of the path between Maryport and Allonby, improving the experience for cyclists and making the path more accessible for those using wheelchairs or pushchairs.