A celebration to mark bridleway projects

Those in attendance at Ponteland Community Partnership's bridleway celebration event. Picture by Keith Robertson.
Those in attendance at Ponteland Community Partnership's bridleway celebration event. Picture by Keith Robertson.

Invited guests came along on Saturday to Ponteland Community Partnership’s (PCP’s) celebration event that marked the completion of a number of projects to revamp the bridleway from Callerton Lane to Newcastle International Airport.

They have taken four years in total and thanks to the community and 13 local organisations, the final initiative – the step count displays – were installed on the five educational pedestals along the two-mile route.

Most of the previous projects had been about the natural environment. They included reinstating part of the old railway path and planting trees, wildflowers and bulbs.

PCP has already been awarded highly commended Love Northumberland Awards for its work and supported Ponteland Town Council’s successful Britain in Bloom and Northumbria in Bloom entries.

It is working with both local GP practices to promote this route for their patients as part of a health rehabilitation programme for both body and mind.

At each of the information pedestals, the number of steps to be walked is displayed in both directions and there are perch benches if you need a rest on route.

The counted steps idea was organised by the partnership with the support of the Community Foundation’s Out and About Fund.

The bridleway started life as the railway line from Gosforth in the early 1900s – closing to passengers and freight in the 1930s.

In the following years, it was used as a path and then a bridleway, which has now been given Wildlife Corridor status.

The PCP uses the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan as the basis of most of its projects, as the community actively supported its preparation, and it has been found to provide the background of evidence for all the ideas and initiatives.

It has accessed £11,000 and £4,000 in kind over the past four years, with all of this money spent on projects.

Chairman Alma Dunigan addressed the attendees and gave a full account of the achievements before Guy Opperman MP, whose Hexham constituency includes Ponteland, brought the activity to a close by thanking Mrs Dunigan for her enthusiasm, the PCP for organising community activities, the supporting volunteers, organisations, contributions from business and the funding bodies over the four years.

He said afterwards, “It was a pleasure to celebrate the re-opening of the old railway line footpath, embracing the healthy living programme.

“I was able to thank the dozens of volunteers and organisations, who have done so much on these projects.

“I look forward to the next project, which I am fully behind.”

The next project that he referred to was mentioned at the event.

Mr Opperman was able to tell the attendees that the PCP has been reassured from the senior project manager at construction company Kier, which is building the new Ponteland secondary school and leisure centre, that it is keen and willing to work with the partnership and the community in the future.

This would consist of assisting with the soft landscaping at the area disrupted by the building works around the bridleway entrance at Callerton Lane.