‘Greenways’, ‘Vias Verdes‘, ‘Voies Vertes‘… they are all the same thing – in English, Spanish and French respectively – and they have cropped up from time to time in this parish, most recently a couple of months ago when I had the opportunity of cycling along the Waterford Greenway from Waterford to Dungarvan. It’s an excellent example of the genre… Basically, disused railway lines (usually) transformed into walking and cycling tracks. I’m a big fan (although those of you who have read ‘Along The Med on a Bike Called Reggie‘ may remember me expressing severe reservations about the quality of the surface of some of the Vias Verdes in southern Spain back in 2013).
Anyway, yesterday, the first podcast having been unleashed onto the world, I went out for a long walk, ended up in the bottom of the nearby Ryburn Valley here in West Yorkshire and found this (listen carefully):
I was wrong… upon tweeting the video and finding the Ryburn Valley Greenway Twitter feed, I corrected myself (keep listening):
Here is the Ryburn Valley Greenway website and here is a video taken from the site from the perspective of someone cycling along the section from Kebroyd to Sowerby Bridge. It’s difficult to work out at which point I stumbled upon the railway line but I think there was much of it that I didn’t walk along in the direction of Ripponden and Rishworth.
Back to me… Here I am discovering the end of the, well, track? It’s where the railway line becomes impassable at any rate:
Curious as to where it continued, I did find traces of it nearer the centre of Sowerby Bridge:
As to how the future greenway would manage to pass through the industrial area above without directing people and bicycles back onto the busy road remains to be seen.
That said, what struck me is why this route has not been transformed into a greenway before now. It is the perfect example of a disused railway line that continues to exist mainly in tact, albeit without the rails of course… Ripponden and Rishworth, aside from being lovely villages to visit, have a meal, drink a pint, use as a base for climbing the nearby hills etc… are home to thousands of people, many of whom will no doubt work in Sowerby Bridge or Halifax (the cycle between the two is a very pleasant one beside the canal and up the Hebble Trail, as you would have discovered if you had listened to the podcast!!). Currently, a walk along the track, even on a dry day in September, will leave your nice Timberland boots looking like this..
…but the discovery was worth it! I’m off to fill in the consultation document. If you are local to the Calderdale area and would like to see the project move forward, I would encourage you to do the same, quick!