Work has started to extend the popular Greenway footpath and cycle route in East Northamptonshire.
The latest work will extend the Greenway from Higham Ferrers, where it currently ends, through to Irthlingborough.
The East Northants Greenway is a linked up network of walking and cycling routes in the south of East Northamptonshire district.
The aim is to encourage more people to walk and cycle rather than drive, thereby reducing carbon emissions and pollution, while providing an appealing route through the countryside.
It currently runs from Rushden to Higham Ferrers, and this phase will contribute towards the wider vision of continuing the Greenway right through to Wellingborough train station.
The work has been made possible by a £185,000 grant from charity Sustrans, via the Department for Transport, and a further £60,000 of funding from SITA Trust.
Other contributions included £107,100 from East Northamptonshire Council and £36,735 from Northamptonshire County Council.
The overall Greenway vision project is being developed in partnership between East Northamptonshire Council, the county council and the Rockingham Forest and Wildlife Trusts. MGWSP will carry out the work.
Leader of East Northamptonshire Council Steven North said: “This is excellent news for healthy travel to work and leisure in the district. The existing Greenway route already encourages children to walk or cycle to school, local commuters to do likewise and everyone to adopt a more active lifestyle.
“The project will enable the Greenway to link though to Irthlingborough and enable commuters from the town to cycle to work in Rushden. It will also link residents of the three towns to a network of foot and cycle paths in the Nene Valley, including the Nene Way, leading to local nature reserves and the leisure attraction at Stanwick Lakes.”
Matt Easter, Sustrans’ East Midlands Regional Director, said: “After Bradley Wiggins’ fantastic Tour de France win, many of us are getting back on our bikes, but often find the road network can be daunting, especially for young children.
“We’re delighted to be working on this greenway extension, which will provide more people with a safe route to walk and cycle for more of their everyday journeys.”
Jools Granville of SITA Trust said: “We have provided well in excess of £1m in this area in the past few years and we’re delighted to be a partner in this fantastic project that helps link many of the amenities, facilities and nature reserves that our funding has helped to improve. We look forward to joining the people of Northamptonshire as they take to the new Greenway in the near future.”