WORK is set to begin on a new £1.25million cycle path along the Solway coast this summer.

The ‘Solway Coaster’ project is set to create a 14.1km cycleway between Allonby and Silloth, forming part of the National Cycle Network Route 72.

Also known as Hadrian’s Cycleway, it runs from Ravenglass to South Shields, Tyne and Wear.

Allerdale Borough Council is taking the lead on the project which was developed by the Silloth-on-Solway Coastal Community Team.

Although mainly aimed at cyclists, off-road sections will be multi-functional, also accommodating pedestrians.

The track will be a mix of terrains – 4.63km of it will be off-road and 9.47km on-road. The latter sections of the route are set to use the existing carriageway, with new signage, markings and line painting.

The new cycle path will join the Maryport to Allonby cycleway and some funding will be used to resurface this existing section of the path. This is designed to make the road better for cyclists and more accessible for people using wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Mike Johnson, deputy leader of Allerdale Borough Council, said: “When the new cycle path opens it will be a fantastic facility which I’m sure will be well used by residents and visitors alike.

“The cycleway will increase the amount of off-road path that cyclists and pedestrians can use, making it safer for people to travel around, while also promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.

“Our work on this initiative supports the council’s drive to boost tourism across the borough and its wider Visit Allerdale initiative.”

The application for the new route was given the go-ahead in June 2019 and has been described as a boon for the area, making the most of the area’s tourism opportunities.

Around 650,000 cycle tourists visit Cumbria every year with more than 160,000 trips taking place on Hadrian’s Cycleway.

the Silloth-on-Solway Coastal Community Team is made up of public, private and community partners and is concerned with the Solway coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The CCT secured £1million from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Coastal Communities Fund fpor the new cycle path. A further £250,000 was awarded to the project by the environment ministry’s Rural Development Programme for England.

The programme is part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Statutory permissions are in place, ground investigation works are complete and detailed designs are nearly finished. Allerdale council is working to appoint a main contractor so that work can begin in the summer.

And the project has received common land consent from the planning inspectorate.