A GROUP of around 30 walkers assembled on a warm sunny Saturday morning to take part in a walk with the aim to generate interest and eventually the creation of a working group to maintain the old railway line which runs between Chatteris and Somersham.
The walk, organised by Chatteris Town Council, was led by Laura Osbourne from the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust and Biodiversity Partnership, and among the walkers were people from as far away as Wisbech as well as other local towns and villages.
As the walk progressed, it was obvious that the management of the area was haphazard, with some parts of the path nearly all overgrown but other parts clear, and the idea of a Friends Group is to help maintain the Chatteris part of the six-mile stretch. Somersham already has an established group who were successful in creating a walk as well as nature & dog walking areas for all to enjoy.
The group were joined by Cllr. Steve Criswell, Parish Council Chairman and County Councillor for Somersham who gave a potted history about the Somersham end of the railway line and its evolvement from a small piece of land designated a nature area back in the late seventies to the landscaped pond with footpaths that you see today – all the efforts of several years hard work by local groups and councils.
Participants were encouraged to give their views and ideas; the present state of maintenance was a big talking point, other suggestions were to install seating at certain intervals and to encourage local schools to use the walk for educational uses in the hope that more people will appreciate it.
Cllr James Carney, Deputy Mayor of Chatteris, said: “It was great to see the number of people turn up on the day who all showed an interest in both the history of the old railway line as well as its future, and what can be done to improve it for other users. It was very encouraging that people not just from Chatteris or Somersham attend but from further afield; the next step is to galvanise that interest into a group which will then form the basis for making funding bids from various bodies to turn these proposals into reality. I would like to thank both Laura Osbourne for conducting this walk and Ivan Cooper, from the Town Council, who helped organise and publicise this event, but not least everyone who came along on the day”.