An historic viaduct which was once part of the East Lancashire Line is now open for public access 15 years after it was closed due to foot and mouth disease, thanks to the support of our staff and volunteers.
The local Martholme Greenway group organised a celebratory event with the dedicated team which helped restore the viaduct, 140 years after the first train rattled over its archways.
Martholme Greenway group worked with our staff and volunteers to clear the disused viaduct of trees and bracken and install benches to enjoy panoramic views out across the Calder Valley towards Whalley and Burnley. Volunteers also cleared and upgraded local paths from Great Harwood to the majestic 200-metre long structure, which was built by the engineer Sturges Meek between 1870 and 1877, and features ten arches.
Restoration work on the viaduct, owned by our sister charity Railway Paths Limited, cost £20,000 and was funded by the Railway Heritage Trust. Local contractors carried out repairs to the parapet walls and installed new fencing.
John Barker of the Martholme Greenway group, and a Sustrans volunteer said: “I’m delighted to announce that Martholme Greenway is now open to the public. Thanks to everyone who has helped with the hard work of clearing the viaduct and laying new paths and benches. It’s a fantastic viewpoint for people on local walks or cycle rides from Great Harwood and accessible for all abilities. In the longer term we hope it will link to other cycle and walking routes in the area.”
Will Haynes, our Head of Built Environment welcomed the news: “The Martholme Greenway group has worked tirelessly with our volunteers and staff to help reopen this beautiful historic viaduct. It is great that people can once again access this viaduct and enjoy the views from it and we are grateful for the support of both the Martholme Greenway group and the Railway Heritage Trust. The works to create the path to the south of the viaduct are a testament to what a dedicated group of local people can achieve.
Martholme Viaduct served trains running on the Great Harwood Loop of the East Lancashire Line, a nine-mile route through Great Harwood, as well as through Simonstone and Padiham, where the disused railway line has previously been transformed into the award winning Padiham Greenway.