Plans to revamp disused Alnwick to Cornhill railway line receive boost from Northumberland Estates

Plans to create an accessible route on a disused railway line in Alnwick have received a boost.
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Borderline Greenway Community Interest Company (CIC) has signed a 25-year with Northumberland Estates so it can progress its plans.

The proposed trail starts at Greensfield and follows the track of the former Alnwick to Cornhill railway line to Rugley Wood.

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"The signing of the lease is a significant moment,” says Colin Davidson, chairman of the Borderline Greenway CIC.

The former Alnwick to Cornhill railway line.The former Alnwick to Cornhill railway line.
The former Alnwick to Cornhill railway line.

The installation of a new bridge and ditch clearance work are the two immediate priorities before the route can be reopened.

"We need to replace a missing span on the steel bridge at Greensfield so we’re raising money towards the £15,000 cost of that and looking to get the required planning permissions,” explained Mr Davidson.

The group already has £10,000 in place so is now applying to local community groups to help make up the shortfall.

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The railway line, which was never profitable or well-used, closed in 1953.

"Nothing has been done with it for 71 years so there’s a lot of silt and leaf mould in the ditches that we need to clear away,” added Mr Davidson. “That will help the drainage because it is pretty muddy in places at the moment.”

Some clearance work to remove storm-damaged trees is also required at Rugley.

"It’s difficult to put a precise timescale on when it will be open until we get the planning permission and funding in place but we’re making good progress now and hope people will soon see something tangible,” said Mr Davidson.

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The long term aim is for the whole of the old line to be reopened as a greenway suitable for walkers, cyclists, horses, pushchairs and wheelchairs.

The CIC had initially hoped to create a 5.4 mile recreational trail, to be known as The Alnwick Loop, but were unable to reach an agreement with Alnwick Freemen over the potential use of a 780m section.

Although Alnwick Freemen have said ‘there will be no dealings with Borderline Greenway CIC’ they have also stated their commitment to fund and maintain an access track to complement the completion of the section of track over land belonging to Northumberland Estates.

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