The upgrade works to Standish Mineral Line are now complete and locals are being encouraged to use the improved walkway by taking part in a fun letter-hunt.
In line with The Deal, Wigan Council contracted Dowhigh Ltd to fully upgrade ‘The Line’ from a muddy track to a surfaced and lit bridleway.
And now the works are complete, families, shoppers, cyclists and walkers are encouraged to test out the pathway and find the hidden letters placed on lampposts along the route, which come together to spell a two-word phrase.
The improvements have transformed the former railway track and heritage feature into an accessible path for local people that can be used all year round, providing an alternative way for people to travel into Standish village centre.
Further enhancement works are also planned over the coming weeks, including planting wildflower seeds, installing new litter bins and bespoke cycle bins.
Leader of the council, Councillor David Molyneux, said: “This is the long-awaited good news we have been hoping for. We know how much residents in Standish wanted The Line project to happen and we’ve been working extremely hard with Dowhigh over recent weeks to make this a reality.
“The upgrade provides a quick walking and cycling route into Standish village centre which should take traffic off the local roads by encouraging more people to leave the car at home.
“Along with supporting people to lead healthier lifestyles, by giving them the option to walk or cycle, it will also help to reduce the levels of noise and pollution through a reduction in cars.”
To celebrate the works coming to an end, eight letters have been installed on lampposts along the mile-long route and walkers, cyclists, families and commuters are encouraged to piece them together to create a two-word phrase. Once residents have guessed correctly, they are asked to submit their ‘selfies’ and the phrase to the council’s Twitter page using #StandishLine.
David Stanley, a Standish resident and keen cyclist said: “Now the path has been laid with tarmac, it means you can navigate the route using any kind of bike. The new lighting also makes it much safer, especially with the darker night’s drawing in over the next few months.”
With a history of coal transportation, The Line is a key heritage point for Standish and was raised by the local community at a have your say session as part of The Deal in 2016. The council has remained in contact with local community group, Standish Voice, over the project.
They said: “The upgraded Line will be a fantastic facility for residents traveling into and out of Standish, students on their way to and from school and for recreation as well.
“We have had really positive feedback from the local community about it and it is great that it is now open well ahead of most of the new homes being built near to it.
“It is a route people can use away from road traffic and we hope it can contribute to reducing the number of cars having to go into the centre of Standish too.”
The funding to improve the former railway track came from section 106 contributions from developers who are building new homes in Standish.
The works maintain the rural characteristics of the route and to have been sensitive to wildlife in the area.
Peter Allard, director of Dowhigh said: “Dowhigh Limited are very pleased to be associated with Wigan Council on the Mineral line Project which now provides the residents of Standish with a safe, illuminated and fit for purpose combined Bridleway, Cycleway and multi user 1.45Km walkway.”
The new surfaced and lit route runs from School Lane through to Brookfield Road for a more direct and safer off-road connection to Shevington Moor and nearby residential areas.
To submit your selfie to Wigan Council, follow @WiganCouncil on Twitter.