Tetbury Cycle Path
When the Tetbury to Kemble branch line closed 50 years ago and the rails were taken up, the track bed was used informally by local people for walking riding and cycling. Unlike the Nailsworth to Stonehouse branch line, which was bought by the County Council, the Tetbury branch line was sold off to individual landowners who have placed more and more restrictions on its use over the years.
The original cyclepath/footpath was built in 2000 after the Town Council bought a short stretch of the old line and the Feoffees leased the land that became Preston Park. The Tetbury Rail Lands Regeneration Trust has been working to extend the cycle path ever since. In 2006 a Sustrans Connect2 grant was applied for to extend the path to Kemble but the bid was unsuccessful. A year later the Trust obtained a £14,000 grant which was used to commission a feasibility study for creating a cycle path along the whole route.
To view the map sections from the 2007 Sustrans feasibility study, click the thumbnails below.
The Tetbury Cycle Path that runs from the Malmesbury Road and the site of the old Tetbury station along the track of the former branch line has been extended following a decision in Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday 21st November 2016. There was popular support for the change and it was noted a number of local organisations and individuals had written or emailed to show their support.
A footpath on Mike Tucker’s land was closed and he dedicated the section of the old railway line that crosses his land as a public bridleway which can be used as a cycle path. A new public footpath was also dedicated which together with the bridleway provides an alternative route to the closed footpath.
On the new section on Mike Tucker's land between Preston Park and Newnton Hill
The new bridleway can be used by cyclists and horse riders as well as walkers and runners and doubles the length of the orginal cycle path. Whereas the cycle path used to come to a dead end at Preston Park, the extension allows people to continue to Newnton Hill.
WW2 tank traps can be seen beside the newly-opened extension to the path
Mike Tucker has done a good job of clearing the undergrowth and making a new ramp up to the road. However the new bridleway’s surface is still quite muddy and rough. So the next stage is for the Trust to apply for grants to lay a crushed limestone surface similar to the original cycle/foot path. This is a multi-user surface that is ideal for horses as well as pedestrians and cyclists. With a good surface, the flat railway line without styles and few gates will be suitable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters etc. allowing disabled access to the countryside.
Now the cycle path is open as far as the Newnton Hill road, the following section of the old railway line runs across Duchy of Cornwall land. Discussions have been held with the Duchy, who are considering dedicating their track bed as a bridleway. This would allow people to reach the Trouble House on foot, horse or bike and would effectively triple the length of the original cycle path.