New track opens up work, wildlife and heritage opportunities

Work is underway on two new sections of the St Helens cycle track network.

One of the new stretches will eventually link the full length of the Sankey Canal route from St Helens through to Widnes via Warrington.

Meanwhile, at Newton-le-Willows, work is progressing between Bradley Lock and Wharf Road – on a section that includes new drainage ponds to reduce the risk of flooding.

Overgrown tree clearance is also being carried out to open up views of George Stephenson’s famous viaduct – built between 1828 and 1830 – across the Sankey Canal. The Grade I listed structure is described as ‘the earliest major railway viaduct in the world.’

Investigations are also taking place to find any remains of the now in filled section of the Sankey Canal opened in 1757 at this international historic location.

The Sankey Valley route runs from Widnes to St Helens via Warrington, Newton and Haydock. Along the way it takes in St Helens town centre, Haydock Industrial Estate, Sankey Valley Trading Estate, Earlestown town centre, Parkside, Omega, Gemini, and then Widnes – providing great access to employment areas, heritage and leisure opportunities.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Green Smart and Sustainable Borough, Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron said: “The new pathway is a vital economic link across three boroughs. As well as providing a sustainable transport route to current and future economic opportunities, it’s also a welcome recreational facility.

“By addressing historic drainage issues we’ve also been able to install new wildlife zones which, along with the council recommended areas at Vista Country Park, means that biodiversity along the route can be promoted and encouraged. Please, go out and enjoy it!”