A donation has enabled vital improvement works to part of the Trans Pennine Trail near to Torside Reservoir.
The works make the area more wheelchair friendly and open it up to a greater number of people.
The donation has been made by Pat and Brian Allison who are keen ramblers and cyclists. They became aware it was more difficult to access the area when Pat developed Multiple Sclerosis.
The initial works enabled by the donation quickly gained the support of all and helped develop the wider vision for the valley, levering in more funding, and even more improvements.
The Peak District National Park Authority secured funds from the National Grid’s Landscape Enhancement Initiative to deliver a range of access, biodiversity and landscape improvements in the valley and United Utilities committed to providing seating and installing many of the improvements funded.
The LAP (Longdendale Access Project) includes information boards and a leaflet, sound boxes voiced by Brian Blessed, activity posts, new seating, wheelchair access to a dipping pond, as well as the UK’s first mechanical Changing Place facility.
Simon Geller, Chair of the Friends of the Trans Pennine Trail said: “This has been a tremendous project to work on over the last few years and really does show how little projects can grow and make such a difference.”
The Chair of the Trans Pennine Trail Partnership, Gillian Ivey, told the Chronicle: “It’s been a great opportunity for the TPT national office to meet the family and work with all the stakeholders together.
“I’d like to say thank you to everyone for their commitment and inspiration.
“I hope this is the first of many projects of this nature and what a fitting tribute for a legacy.”
Rosslyn Colderley, Sustrans Director of the North of England told us: “The TPT and Sustrans has been working hard to look at opportunities to improve accessibility along the Trail and it’s great to see another example of what can be achieved.”
Environmentalist and broadcaster Chris Baines, who chairs the independent Stakeholder Advisory Group for National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision project, said: “Through the Landscape Enhancement Initiative we hope to make a positive contribution towards preserving and enhancing the natural beauty, cultural heritage, biodiversity as well as accessibility within England and Wales’s most precious landscapes.
“The fantastic work being undertaken in the Longdendale Valley is helping to enhance the enjoyment for all the of locals and visitors who come to the Peak District every year, in an area near where I grew up and have great affection for.”
The Trans Pennine Trail runs from Southport to Hornsea and is 215 miles long.