Active Valley Initiative
The Active Valley Initiative is about making the most of the Colne Valley’s great outdoors - encouraging people to walk, cycle, horseride and generally get out and about and enjoy the paths and green spaces in our beautiful valley.
It is focused on practical improvements to footpaths, cycleways, bridleways, woodlands and green spaces, working in hand with the community-based River Colne Project, and linking in to areas of regeneration activity in the valley.
The Active Valley Initiative will help improve walking links to local business developments, provide improved tourism opportunities, and benefit the health and welfare of local communities.Funding
The Active Valley Initiative is not one of the 3 key Priority Projects to be directly funded by the Renaissance Market Towns programme. However, bids are being made for other funding, helped by the raised profile given to the AVI by the Renaissance Market Town designation.
The Colne Valley Area Committee of Kirklees Council has pledged significant support to the Active Valley Initiative over the next two years, and a number of Kirklees Council services are tailoring their work programmes to help with local practical projects.
Bids for match funding are being made to Lottery organisations, local businesses and community organisations, and others.Projects
Four projects form the first stage of the Initiative. These are projects for which funding has by now been largely secured, and which are ready to roll. They have arisen from discussions with community groups in Marsden and Slaithwaite, and with Kirklees Council officers.
- Colne Valley Circular
A complete upgrade of the Colne Valley Circular footpath (13 miles of public rights of way), improving drainage, surface, stiles etc., providing a flagship trail for the Valley. A new Guide will be produced. The project is being led by Kirklees Council Countryside Unit and Public Rights of Way Unit, with local community involvement through the River Colne Project and the Colne Valley Society.
- Out and About for Everyone
Developing the Titanic River Walk, as the first of a series of walks accessible to as many people as possible (good surface, reasonably level, no stiles, bench-to-bench walking etc). The Titanic route links the recently completed Titanic Mill spa complex, with the river walk and canal towpath. The project will deliver 550m length of improved pathway, with better surfacing, more manageable gateways, wall rebuilding, benches etc. The project is a partnership between the River Colne Project, Kirkles Council Rights of Way Unit, British Waterways, Lowry Renaissance and Titanic Spa, and others.
- Picnic Parks
A programme of improvements to the three Kirklees Council-owned picnic places in the Colne Valley, linking in to short walking routes, at Marsden, (Tunnel End), Slaithwaite (Rotcher), and Golcar (Appleyards). Work will include better signage and interpretation, picnic tables and benches, path improvements, planting and a wildlife garden, a dry stone walling display, and promotional literature. The project is being led by Kirklees Council Countryside Unit, with assistance from the River Colne Project.
- Naming the Valley
This project will provide distinctive gateway signs at key entrances to the Colne Valley. Suggested locations to be investigated include:
- Redbrook layby on the A62 (entering the Colne Valley from the west)
- Marsden Railway Station
- Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Marsden
- Round Ings Road (entrance into the valley off M62)
- Chain Road / Varley Road entrance into Slaithwaite
- Longroyd Bridge on the A62 (entering the Colne Valley from the east)
There is a wide range of other work already going on in the valley, or planned over the next two or three years, that will contribute to the same aims as the Active Valley Initiative. This includes the work of the River Colne Project, the Colne Valley Tree Society, Milnsbridge Enhancement Group, Environmental Alliance Ltd, the National Trust, British Waterways, the River Colne Sculpture Trail, Kirklees Council services, and others.
The Active Valley Initiative also ties in closely with other priority projects identified in the Marsden and Slaithwaite Renaissance Market Business Plan – notably the Slaithwaite Spa and Landscape Management Strategy projects, and the village centre improvements for Marsden and Slaithwaite.Future Directions for the Active Valley Initiative
The above covers stage one of the Active Valley Initiative. There is the opportunity to take it further and develop other projects. There is nothing as yet for example for cyclists or horseriders. Ideas for projects are welcome – they need to be practical and possible.If you’re interested in what’s going on with this project, or indeed any of the others within the Renaissance umbrella, please register an account on this site and/or get in touch.