Work is now underway on Tameside’s first two walking and cycling routes as part of a major project.
Hospital staff, patients and visitors will be able to benefit from a number of improvements to an off-road path at Chadwick Dam through Ashton and Stalybridge, improving connections to Tameside Hospital.
Improvements are also being made in part of Ashton-under-Lyne to encourage more people to cycle in the area.
They are the first two parts of the Bee Network scheme to come to Tameside – a project which is expected to provide an 1,800-mile network of walking and cycling routes across Greater Manchester once it is complete.
Cllr Warren Bray, Tameside Council executive member for transport and connectivity, said: “It’s wonderful to see that work has started on Tameside’s first two Bee Network schemes, making this ambitious vision a reality.
“These schemes will create and enhance cycling and walking routes across Tameside that join up around Greater Manchester, encouraging residents to walk or cycle more, reducing vehicle trips and tackling congestion and poor air quality to protect the environment and help keep people fit and healthy.
“These first two schemes will give those travelling to the hospital, as well as to local shops, schools and work, a healthier and greener travel option.”
The work at Chadwick Dam extends walking and cycling provision and features a new crossing at Mossley Road to improve access towards the park.
Tameside Hospital has also recently provided cycling facilities for staff to make the most of the scheme, while additional planting and new benches have been placed within the park to make the route more attractive.
Ridgehill Big Local Enterprises, the lease holders for Chadwick Dam and Stamford Boating Lake, is also building a sensory garden for the community following a successful funding bid to the AVIVA Community Fund.
Andrew Light, a non-executive director at the NHS trust which runs Tameside Hospital, said: “We know how beneficial it can be both physically and mentally to get out for a walk during your lunch break or even after work.
“I am delighted that improvements are being made to this picturesque and much valued space close to the hospital. With spring just around the corner I can see that this area will be very well used over the coming months and beyond.”
The second scheme involves a series of cycle improvements between Hill Street and Stockport Road in Ashton, including contraflow cycle lanes and a new parallel zebra crossing.
It is hoped the project will better connect residential areas in Ashton with the town centre and Audenshaw, as well as links to the Peak Forest Canal between Ashton and Stockport, and the Ashton Canal towpath at Portland Basin.
Consultation on these schemes took place in early 2020 and Tameside Council says the vast majority of respondents indicated that the projects would encourage them to cycle and walk more.