National Cycle Route 45
National Cycle Route 45 travels in sections from Chester to Salisbury, a total distance of 219 miles. Part of the route follows the Severn Valley between the Ironbridge Gorge and Bewdley, utilising the former trackbed and crossing the present day railway twice.
Route 45 crosses from the east bank of the River Severn to the west bank via Abraham Darby’s bridge at Ironbridge. From the site of the former Ironbridge station, now the main town car park, it then closely follows the disused trackbed southwards via Jackfield Halt, Coalport and Linley to the edge of Bridgnorth Golf Club. From there the Route follows roads through the town, continuing up Hollybush Road where it passes under the footbridge outside Bridgnorth Station and crosses the former line between the station and Bridgnorth Tunnel.
South of Bridgnorth, the Route then follows the road through the villages of Eardington and Chelmarsh, returning to cross the railway at the Underbridge at Hampton Loade. From there it runs alongside the present day railway from Hampton Loade Station towards Country Park Halt.
This part of the Cycle Route was built by Shropshire County Council in 2003. The SVRSevern Valley Railway Board initially decided to oppose its construction as it would be on the SVRSevern Valley Railway's land and in close proximity to the line. However it transpired that the SVRSevern Valley Railway's rejecting the cycle path could have adversely affected a number of other projects being put forward for European funding at the time, including The Engine House. After revised plans were drawn up including suitable fencing and landscaping of the cycle path to minimise its impact on the Railway, and following considerable discussion, the Board agreed to support the project. Today the route is popular with both cyclists and walkers.
Route 45 leaves the SVRSevern Valley Railway a short distance before the Halt, turning away into the main area of the Country Park. However a footpath continues to the Halt itself. After passing through the Country Park, Route 45 crosses the railway again at Arley Station Bridge, then enters the Wyre Forest, where it follows the trackbed of the Wyre Forest Line towards Bewdley.
Between Bewdley and Stourport, Route 45 passes under the part of the Stourport Branch owned by the SVRSevern Valley Railway via the road underbridge between Bewdley South junction and Mount Pleasant tunnel (item SVR022* in the Wyre Forest District Council Local Heritage List). East of Stourport, Route 45 re-joins the former trackbed by the old railway bridge over the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. From there it follows the trackbed towards Hartlebury for approximately 1 mile before turning away towards the south at Charlton Lane.
There are a number of farm crossings between Hampton Loade and Country Park which also cross the Cycle Route.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 146, "Boardroom Notes"