Safer cycling in West Somerset

Why West Somerset Needs Safer Cycling

At present, cyclists in West Somerset have little option but to ride along the A39. Many would-be cyclists are put off altogether because they consider the risk to be too great, and cycling with children is almost impossible. By building paths where people can cycle safely without worrying about traffic, many more people will be able to take to two wheels.

Steam Coast Trail
The Steam Coast Trail is the name of the cycle path that is planned for West Somerset, which will ultimately make cycling much easier between Minehead, Watchet and Williton. Its name comes from the route along the coast of West Somerset often near the railway. This is a Forum 21 initiative supported by Sustrans. The scheme involves the building of two new off-road sections of cycle path. The first section between Blue Anchor and Dunster Beach already has planning permission, and we are now raising money so that this section can be built. A plan for the second section between Old Cleeve and Washford has been submitted to the council by Sustrans and is awaiting approval.

The Route
When the path is complete, cyclists coming from Minehead will use the existing cycle path alongside the A39 (which is due to be improved soon) until they reach Marsh Lane at Dunster. Here they will turn left, continuing down Sea Lane to Dunster Beach. They will then take the new scenic route to Blue Anchor (a distance of just 1 mile). After stopping for an ice-cream or other refreshment, cyclists will continue along Blue Anchor seafront and turn right towards Old Cleeve. At Old Cleeve, they will take the next off-road section to Washford.

Progress
A new group, Friends of the Steam Coast Trail has been formed, whose first task is to raise funds for the project. We need approximately £250,000 to build the first section of this cycle path from Dunster Beach to Blue Anchor. While we are hoping to get some larger grants and donations, even small donations will be very welcome as they will get the ball rolling and show that we have public support.

New Website www.steamcoasttrail.org

The Steam Coast Trail now has a new website www.steamcoasttrail.org which aims to provide up-to-date information on the project. Please have a look at the website for more information about the project including maps and plans. If you use Facebook or Twitter, you can support the new website by clicking on the Like or Tweet buttons in the top-right corner of the page.

What you can do to help
We know there is a lot of support for the new cycle path, but when we are applying for grants, it will be important that we can show this. We therefore need to hear from everyone who supports this project. The easiest way to give us your support is by filling out the form on the contact page of the new website. Letters of support and donations can also be sent to Forum 21, 8 Severn Terrace, Watchet, Somerset. TA23 0AS. Cheques should be made payable to “Forum 21”.