One of Lancashire’s most popular green spaces has been redesigned and upgraded to make it more accessible for people with limited mobility.Advertisement
The improvements to Cuerden Valley Park, in Clayton-le-Woods, have been designed to help those who have difficulty getting around to make the most of their visits to the popular attraction – and to encourage others who have so far been deterred from using the facility to give it a try.
The £305,000 overhaul has seen the flattening-out of a previously steep path linking the car park, café and toilets to the main area of the park.
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Other mobility-focussed modifications include a redesign of the entrances, to bring them up to the latest design standards for accessibility, and the resurfacing of the cyclepath that runs through the park, which is on the national cycle network.
A footbridge that crosses the River Lostock has also been refurbished, while two ‘Tramper’ all-terrain mobility scooters will also soon be available for hire, so that people with impaired mobility can explore whichever corner of the park they would like to see.
In addition, ten new benches have been installed to encourage anyone who needs to sit down and rest occasionally to explore a little further than they might otherwise have felt able to do.
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Andrew Suter, chief executive of Cuerden Valley Park Trust, which owns and manages the site, described the new path as “a fantastic addition to the park – and the perfect example of our ambition to become one of the most accessible green spaces in the North West”.
He added: “People can now get from our busiest car park and café into the valley bottom with relative ease.
“The upcoming addition of off-road mobility scooters, or ’Trampers’, for hire will allow people with mobility needs to better explore and enjoy the park.
“We are hugely grateful to Lancashire County Council and their Public Rights of Way team for funding and their support and to Lancashire Environment Fund and Clayton-le-Woods Parish Council for their[s],” Andrew said.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, Shaun Turner, said he was delighted that the investment would help more people experience “a wonderful place to explore, unwind, and enjoy our natural environment”.
“Many people visit the park to walk, run, cycle and exercise their dogs – and the main shared path which forms part of the national cycleway was really in need of some maintenance to ensure it continues to be well-used.
“By working with our partners, we’ve taken the opportunity to really add value by tying the path improvements into a bigger scheme to improve accessibility across the whole site.
”Everyone who visits Cuerden Valley Park will benefit from this for many years to come,” County Cllr Turner said.
The funding that County Hall contributed to the project came from the government-funded public health budget and was earmarked for the purpose of making environmental improvements that support health and wellbeing, something which was also welcomed by Clayton-le-Woods Parish Council chair Cllr Peter Gabbott.
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The national walking, wheeling and cycling charity Sustrans – which is leading a UK-wide programme to make the National Cycle Network accessible for everyone – was also involved in the Cuerden Valley Park revamp.
Rosslyn Colderley, director for the organisation in the North, said that the charity had been “delighted to be able to contribute funding” to help upgrade the site.
“As well as being a fantastic local park, Cuerden is part of the popular Route 55 on the National Cycle Network.
“In 2018, our Paths for Everyone report found that almost half the UK’s 12,700 mile National Cycle Network was poor or very poor.
“We’re committed to working with local authorities across the UK to enhance the network and create more traffic-free paths that all abilities can access. That means more people can get active and walk, wheel or cycle short journeys for work, school or leisure.”
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