The Cole Green Way – once the railway line between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford – has had a major makeover, thanks to funding from Sustrans and the county council.
Over the last three years the three miles of the route owned by the county council have been resurfaced. The improvements have provided a more attractive and user-friendly route for recreational use by local walkers, cyclists and horse riders, while maintaining the rural character at its heart.
Cllr Eric Buckmaster, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "I'm delighted that the improvement works to the Cole Green Way have now been completed. The aim was to make the route easier and more pleasant to use and it is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in the project that this has been achieved.
"It’s fantastic that we have been able to provide another opportunity for residents to participate in cycling and walking, in a safe and accessible way and for Hertfordshire to truly become a cleaner, greener and healthier county."
Walking and cycling charity Sustrans are custodians of The National Cycle Network which is a critical part of the UK’s active travel infrastructure. At almost four miles long, the Cole Green Way forms part of the network and provides a valued connection between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford. Sustrans were able to support the project as part of their 'Paths for Everyone' review and a funding package from the Department for Transport to improve the network.
Commenting on the completion of the scheme Clare Maltby, Sustrans' England Director Midlands and East, said: "Around 4.4 million people walk, cycle, wheel and scoot on the National Cycle Network every year and over 50 per cent of the UK population live within a 20-minute walk.
"The Cole Green Way is a much valued part of the network providing a quality green corridor for anyone walking or cycling to schools and local businesses. I hope it’s enjoyed by local people and visitors alike as it contributes to a developing market for sustainable tourism in the area."
The former site of Cole Green station has also been restored, with new platform signage, railway-style benches, interpretation of the site’s history, cycle parking and even a replica buffer stop where there would once have been a siding. The value of the Cole Green Way to wildlife has been recognised with woodland management to benefit the long term health of the woodland corridor.
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