WELLINGTON and Taunton could be connected by a stunning walking and cycling route which celebrates the area’s industrial heritage.

Pedestrians and cyclists wishing to travel between Taunton and Wellington currently have to rely on the A38, which is frequently congested and has narrow or limited pavements.

A long-awaited feasibility study into a proposed active travel route linking the towns has identified numerous options for where such a route could go – including the delivery of new cycle paths right alongside the main road.

But retired health professional and Wellington resident Charles Biscoe has put forward a different route, dubbed the Grand Western Greenway, which will link the two towns by following much of the route of the former Grand Western Canal.

The Green Western Greenway is intended to run from the Longforth Farm housing development in Wellington all the way to Taunton railway station – some seven-and-a-half miles.

New sections of all-weather paths will be laid, following construction methods used elsewhere on the Strawberry Line and being delivered as part of the Glastonbury town deal.

Mr Biscoe, chairman of the Grand Western Greenway Association, said: “I’ve been talking about some kind of active travel link between Wellington and Taunton for some 13 years.

“The prospect of coming out into the countryside is a very attractive one. We’ve been looking at doing a route down the A38 for a long time, but it’s unattractive, whereas this is beautiful.

“Nowadays, when you build active travel routes, you want to include everybody – you don’t just want the brave and the foolhardy to use it.

“We hope that putting these paths in the countryside means that not only cyclists will use it, but walkers and people with less mobility (using scooters and wheelchairs) will be able to get out into the countryside more easily.

Somerset Council was approached for comment in February regarding the Stantec study into the new Taunton to Wellington cycle route.

A spokesman stated at the time: “We are still discussing the draft proposal with stakeholder groups, so we are not ready to issue a public statement. We hope to update the wider public very soon.”

The council is currently working on a Wellington local cycling and walking infrastructure plan (LCWIP), which will identify and prioritise potential active travel links in and around the town.

Once published, the report will serve as a basis for future funding applications to deliver cycle routes in Wellington, whether funded by central government or through new housing developments.

Even if the council were to publicly endorse any of the options within the report (including the Grand Western Greenway), its precarious financial position precludes it from immediately committing funding.

The council recently secured more than £400,000 from Active Travel England towards the design and development of new walking and cycling schemes – but officers have declined to comment where in the county this will be directed.

The council was approached by the Local Democracy Reporting Service for an additional statement but did not respond before the given deadline.