Work starts on latest £370,000 section of the Castleford Greenway

1.3km section of traffic free route will provide missing link in the West Yorkshire cycling and walking network

8 December 2020

Works to the latest £370,000 section of the Castleford Greenway are underway. The 1.3km section of new traffic-free route will provide a missing link in cycling and walking infrastructure to the south of Methley village, linking the existing National Cycle Network route 67 with Methley Junction.

The 3m wide route will make use of the old Methley Railway line and connect the new Castleford Greenway at Methley Junction with the Trans Pennine Trail, building on existing routes to Leeds, Castleford and Wakefield. It is due to be completed by spring 2021. 

This phase will be delivered through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, aimed at enabling more people to travel by bike or on foot, in partnership with Leeds City Council and Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity. It builds on the recently completed Castleford to Wakefield Greenway, delivered in partnership with Wakefield Council.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said:

“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds City Council and Sustrans, on this exemplar scheme, which provides a vital missing link to Castleford, the Trans Pennine Trail and the Wakefield Wheel. Developing traffic free routes creates space for people to benefit from the outdoors, supports their mental and physical health, as well as enabling people to travel more actively. More and more people have been able to take advantage of this new route, which has seen significant growth in usage over the past year.

“Making walking and cycling a natural choice for short, everyday journeys is more important than ever, not only as we look to address the health, transport and economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in helping us achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.”

Cllr James Lewis, Rosslyn Colderley, Cllr Matthew Morley and Cllr Kim Groves open the most recent phase of Castleford Greenway, linking Castleford to Methley Junction.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said: 

“During these difficult times, we’re working hard to make walking and cycling a more attractive everyday choice for exercising and commuting. Working with our City Connect partners and Sustrans, we’re excited to see the construction of a new 1.3km traffic-free route supporting new cycling and walking provision to the south of Methley village, linking to the existing National Cycle Network route 67 with Methley Junction. 

“Each new stretch of cycleway across Leeds brings us nearer to the 500 miles of cycle network we are aiming to create across the Leeds district and as in this case is not only supporting Leeds residents in our outer-lying villages but is building active travel links with surrounding towns. 

“As part of our Covid-19 response, we are creating new routes for people who walk and cycle in our district, not only improving the safety of their journey but also their health and wellbeing in keeping our air clean across Leeds.”

Rosslyn Colderley, Director for Sustrans in the North of England, said:

“This important new section of the Castleford Greenway will provide a vital link to the Trans Pennine Trail and will help many more people access the National Cycle Network.

“We’re excited to be working in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Council on a flagship project for the National Cycle Network in the North. Sustrans owns most of this route and it is a great example of our work across the country to raise the standards of the Network. It will be built to the highest design standards, with easy access for people of all abilities to walk, cycle, use mobility scooters or adapted bicycles.”

These new works are the latest development in traffic-free routes being delivered in the area, helping more people to travel by bike or on foot. The first section of the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway, a 2km stretch between Fairies Hill Lock and Methley Bridge in Castleford, opened in March 2018.

Later phases, including a traffic-free link between Castleford and Methley by extending the Castleford Greenway (Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 69) over a new bridge across the Hallam Line have also been completed, with the most recent phase, which linked Castleford to Methley Junction over the River Calder, opening in October 2020. As the greenway has been developed, more people have been able to enjoy the new route, with a 67% increase in the total number of users in the first 6 months of 2020, when compared with 2019.

When complete, the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway will create a 16km route by providing missing links in existing infrastructure.

The scheme will be funded from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal - a £1billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

The Combined Authority is working in partnership with partner councils to deliver a package of emergency measures, including trial cycling and walking infrastructure, to help people move around the region safely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These will be funded by recently announced £12.5 million Active Travel Fund, which the Combined Authority has successfully secured funding from.

Cycling to work on the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway: Meet Richard Atkinson

When Richard accepted a job a new job at Thomas Fawcett & Sons Ltd, a Castleford-based maltsters and malt roasters, he wasn’t sure how he’d get along with the 10-mile commute from Walton, Wakefield without a car. 

A train strike led Richard to attempt cycling to Castleford for the first time, taking in parts of the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway en route.  Before the COVID-19 pandemic we caught up with him to find out more.