Joy for campaigners as historic viaduct set to open for first time in two decades

The Martholme Viaduct which is set to open fully to the public for the first time since 2001.
The Martholme Viaduct which is set to open fully to the public for the first time since 2001.

Dedicated volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to open a historic viaduct for the first time in almost 20 years, will see their efforts rewarded on Saturday.

The Martholme viaduct, spanning the River Calder and parts of the Ribble Valley, will be officially opened on Saturday for full time public access for the first time since it was closed due to the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.

This is the culmination of a huge amount of work from the Martholme Greenway volunteers along with Sustrans and Railway Paths Ltd.

The official opening ceremony will be performed Hyndburn MP Graham Jones and Great Harwood councillor Noordad Aziz.

Over the past six months the viaduct has undergone significant repairs and general tidying up for it now to reach the state where it is fit to be opened to the public.

This is one of the major milestones set by the Martholme Greenway group towards the creation of a path to link the Padiham Greenway to Great Harwood for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

This is in addition to the section already in use between Simonstone Lane and Gooseleach wood over at Simonstone, which again has been created by the hard work of the Martholme Greenway volunteers working with Sustrans.

Although this does not create a path to link Read through to Great Harwood it will allow members of the public to admire the views from the viaduct both towards Burnley, Whalley, Accrington and Great Harwood.

Along with this Martholme Greenway have commissioned the refurbishment of the paths around the area known as the Martholme sidings and pit site which are use to access the viaduct.

The refurbishment of the paths has been funded by grants from the Lancashire Environmental Fund, the Hyndburn Windfall Fund and Tesco bags of help scheme. This has improved the accessibility of the area to walkers, horses, cyclists and disabled users.