THE LIAS Line Greenway, a new stretch of National Cycle Network Route 41, due to be completed in July, has featured on BBC’s Countryfile programme.
The new path connects to Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) Offchurch Greenway and links Rugby, Long Itchington and Leamington, with a segment of the route taking visitors along the Grand Union Canal.
Passing by villages and wildlife reserves, the greenway not only offers a path for humans, but also provides much needed routes for connecting wildlife habitats and gives those who travel along it the opportunity to see a wide variety of local species, including rare varieties such as the Great Crested Newt.
The project has been coordinated by Sustrans, a national charity which aims to make it easier for people to walk and cycle. Sustrans are responsible for the National Cycle Network, which has created over 12,000 miles of signed cycle routes throughout the UK.
Greenways are a network of largely off-road routes, connecting people to facilities and open spaces in and around towns, cities and countryside. They are accessible to people on foot, bicycle and horseback, and link to other networks such as the National Cycle Network, towpaths beside canals, as well as other public rights of way.
Warwickshire County Council operates three greenways through its Country Parks service.
In Warwick district , the Kenilworth Greenway, which runs along the old railway branch line from Berkswell to Kenilworth Junction, first opened in 1884.
The Offchurch Greenway, which forms part of the Sustrans National Cycleway Route 41 and was formerly part of the Leamington to Rugby railway line, is a surfaced footpath and cycleway offering across South Warwickshire along its one-and-a-half-mile stretch.
The Stratford Greenway, which also has a surfaced path suitable for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users, is part of the National Cycle Network, forming a file mile section of the West Midlands cycle Route, which links Oxford to Derby via Birmingham.
WCC transport spokesman Coun Wallace Redford said: “Our greenways are some of the county’s real hidden gems, preserving parts of the county’s past rail heritage and enabling both people and wildlife to reconnect to the wider countryside and each other.
“Miles of beautiful pathways allow people to walk and cycle without interference from road traffic, affording wonderful views and the chance to exercise among Warwickshire’s unique flora and fauna. Whether on foot or two wheels, spending time in nature has proven benefits to mental wellbeing.
“The new Lias Line Greenway will be a wonderful addition to the many miles of beautiful green, publicly accessible footpaths, cycle ways and bridlepaths in Warwickshire.”
The Warwickshire Greenways edition of the Countryfile programme can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.
Visit www.countryparks.warwickshire.gov.uk for more information about Warwickshire’s Country Parks and greenways.