There was no adequate cycling and walking link between rural North East Somerset and the centre of Bath. A group of local people had been campaigning to create a route that would link communities along the old Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line into Bath. The difficulty was that there were lots of barriers to the route including crossing a river, two busy roads, opening up two disused railway tunnels and redeveloping a viaduct. The cost and difficulty of the route had previously made it prohibitive.
“ During a recent UK visit from Canada, I had the pleasure of a walk through the recently opened tunnels with my young sons. The clever use of lighting and music make for an unexpectedly magical experience. We ranked this second only to the Eiffel Tower of places visited this trip, and when the queues and cost for the Eiffel Tower are included, the Two Tunnels is the clear winner. ”
With funding from the BIG Lottery, Sustrans and partners were able to make the project happen. The project transformed a four-mile stretch of the former Somerset and Dorset railway line. The route was designed to run through Linear Park to the disused Devonshire Tunnel at Bloomfield and over the Tucking Mill Viaduct, which were both renovated. The second tunnel at Combe Down is the longest cycling tunnel in Britain, at just over a mile long. The tunnel features an interactive light and sound installation called ‘Passage’ created by United Visual Artists.
People flocked to Bath from all over the country to celebrate the opening of the Two Tunnels Greenway and to experience the UK’s longest cycling tunnel. Not only has it become a well-used route for local people, but it has also become a tourist attraction in its own right. Thousands of people have used the route since in opened, particularly young people using the route to get to school.
Find out how we’re transforming local travel across the UK. Call 0117 926 8893, email [email protected]