Reprinted from Newsletter 91, dated 1999 April

Bawdrip bike link instantly popular

Sustrans is "the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle" — that’s the slogan on its website. Among other things, it is the custodian of the National Cycle Network.

Founded in 1977 as Cyclebag, Sustrans is supported by more than 3,500 volunteers around the whole of Britain. Head office is in Bristol.

On a drizzly day in February, Sustrans opened a key connection in the national cycle route that avoids the busy A39 toward Bridgwater, and it was immediately swarming with users. Villagers in Bawdrip now have a safe link to their school and shop in Cossington. “People who used to put their kids in the car just to cross the road can now go without getting the car out,” said Ben Hamilton-Baillie, Sustrans’ regional manager for Wales and the Southwest, based in Bristol. “People in Cossington met neighbours from Bawdrip they had never seen before.”

  The route uses the old railway line, overgrown and long forgotten, passing underneath the A39. Negotiations involved six landowners at costs of tens of thousands. The 1½-mile path is still to be properly surfaced.

  Glastonbury and all the Polden villages—Ashcott, Shapwick, Catcott, Edington, Chilton Polden. Cossington, Bawdrip, Chedzoy—now have a safe link through to Bridgwater without touching the dangerous A39 with its fast traffic along the hogsback section.

  Towards Wells, the Siren sculptures are proving popular for family outings with children, who excitedly pedal on to the next sculpture where they can ring its bell. A friendlier cycle link into Wells city centre is planned.

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