The path running between Seaclose Park and Island Harbour, which is for cyclists and walkers, has recently undergone extensive construction work.
The £600,000 improvement scheme, which has been funded through the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, has seen a new gravel surface laid and the path widened. No excavation was undertaken during the construction works in designated areas, which meant existing tree roots were protected. The path construction also allows for surface water to pass through the gravel layers maintaining supply to the adjacent trees.
The scheme was designed and delivered by Island Roads on behalf of the council. Cooperation on the project included working with Isle of Wight Festival organisers SOLO, which dedicated a parcel of land to the council, and with the owners of Island Harbour who brought forward the reconstruction of the causeway next to the Ryde Queen in order to tie in with the project.
Although the path has been open to users for the last few weeks, it will be officially unveiled at 10:00 on Saturday 28th February at the start of the route in Seaclose Park. Users, including cyclists and walkers, will be there and the Breeze Cafe at Island Harbour will provide free tea and coffee to the first 100 guests. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
The new path travels along the east bank of the River Medina and presents visitors with a close-up experience of its teeming estuary. The Isle of Wight Estuaries Project joined forces with Island company Arc Consulting to design and install new landmark features along the route. Local artist Hannah George produced illustrations on oak boards at the northern end of the route, giving information about the Medina’s wildlife, saltmarsh and mudflats. Island based sculptor Chris Jenkins made a pillared gateway and huge carved oak bench which can be found on the route.
In preparation for the opening event, a group of 30 volunteers, including members of Ryde Sea Cadets and residents of Island Harbour, undertook a litter pick along the route on Saturday 21st February. The event was a great success with over 50 bags of waste being collected.
Councillor Luisa Hillard, Executive member for sustainability, environment and public realm, said:
“This latest scheme is a continuation of the council’s commitment to improving the quality of the walking and cycling infrastructure across the Island. It is also fantastic so many local organisations have been involved in the project.
“The longer term aspiration is to extend the route from Island Harbour through to East Cowes. We are seeing real benefits from the money secured by the council under the LSTF scheme and this excellent resurfaced path is another example.”
Island Roads were commissioned to design and deliver the scheme. Alan Ransom, design engineer from the company said:
“We are sure that both cyclists and pedestrians will enjoy the improvement to this popular and scenic route.
“With other projects such as the upgrades to the Shanklin to Wroxall Route and the path running through Quarr Abbey undertaken this year, we are delighted to be working with the council to improve travel routes, and opening access to the countryside for all users, including those with mobility issues.”
Additional drainage works required due to a nearby pond which is prone to flooding during heavy rain, will be carried out within the next couple of months.
Photographs: Isle of Wight Council