Route 24 of the National Cycle Network passes through Frome, linking Frome to Longleat and Warminster to the south-east and to Great Elm, Radstock and Bath to the north-west. The trouble is that there are gaps where the route is on busy roads and/or up steep hills, which put people off using them – these are the missing links. What is needed is level, safe and attractive routes to wheel, push, walk on, to encourage everyone to get out from Frome to the surrounding countryside and get some fresh air and exercise.
There are actually two Missing Links – Great Elm to Frome, and Longleat to Frome. The group is concentrating most on the Great Elm to Frome one at the moment which has 3 phases.
Phase 1 was opened on 31 January 2015. This is the bit from Welshmill out towardsWhatcombe Farm, for which the group won the £10,000 People’s Grant, organised by the town council and voted for by all the resident of the town; and were also awarded a £75,000 Mendip Legacy Grant.
Phase 2 is the bit from Great Elm currently being worked on by volunteers so some of us IfF candidate and councillors went to help at the Missing Link group’s latest ‘Chain Gang’ work day on 14 March 2015. This took place at Great Elm where the cycle path, which follows a disused railway line from Radstock, ends – or rather it joins the road for the rest of the route into Frome. This is Phase 2 of the Missing Link (Great Elm Route).
Here they have all the required permissions to extend the cycle path towards Frome, and at this point the old rails have to be removed to make way for the path. Our work was clearing the rails of vegetation and removing the bolts that hold the rails in place. Goodness knows what sort of Chain Gang will be required to actually remove the rails, but Geoff Pell did say he was about to go on a course to learn how to cut rails! This is real volunteers in action, something that the Iff councillors are really keen to support!
Phase 3 of the Great Elm to Frome Missing Link will be the bit in the middle – the hardest part to achieve, and yet the most vital bit, especially the crossing of the A362. This part has yet to be negotiated and agreed with landowners, let alone fund-raised for but watch this space – http://www.fromesmissinglink.org.uk