£140k to be spent on improving Muddy, boggy paths through Whinfield Wood

Despite currently being in poor condition, the paths are very popular

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Muddy, boggy paths through a Rugby wood are to be improved after councillors agreed to part match a ‘green’ grant.

A total of £140,000 will be available for the work in Whinfield Wood - £75,000 from the Veolia Environmental Trust with the remaining £65,000 coming from council coffers.

The money will allow new formal paths to be constructed and drainage problems tackled on routes into the wood from Lower Hillmorton Road, Lansdowne Place and Fleet Crescent.

A report presented to last night’s (August 25) full council meeting of Rugby Borough Council explained: “The existing pathways suffer from poor condition with some simply worn compacted mud in turf, often with flowing or standing water blocking paths making them boggy, slippy and unsafe, preventing many people from using them at all for much of the year and during wet spells.

“Despite this poor and often impassable condition, the routes are highly popular for walking, dog walking, jogging, cycling and enjoying nature. They are used for Rugby Parkrun and for local journeys to schools, allotments, shops, and Rugby train station.

“The improvements will further increase use, encourage more walking and cycling - reducing CO2 and pollution - protect habitats from damage and offer major environmental and health and wellbeing benefits.”

There was cross-party support for the plan with Cllr Neil Sandison (Lib Dem, Eastlands) suggesting the work was a good first step towards having an integrated cycle network.

Cllr Maggie O’Rourke (Lab, Benn) added: “There is no doubt in my mind that the greenways, pathways and cycleways that we have in Rugby have been an absolute Godsend in the Covid lockdown for so many people. Not everyone in our town is as fortunate as we might be in that they haven’t got gardens or spaces that they can go into particularly in the areas of Benn was and New Bilton so this is a really valuable and important investment.

“I have been a frequent walker in the woods myself and they are beautiful though a little bit damp in parts so it would be good to see some work done around that.

“This is something that’s really welcome and I would like to see more of it.”

In proposing the funding, council leader Cllr Seb Lowe (Con, Coton and Boughton) said: “I think this is a hugely positive initiative that plays into our environmental agenda, plays into our wellbeing agenda and plays into our economic agenda.

“I can inform you that we have recently been awarded some funding from Warwickshire County Council as part of their Green Shoots programme. I will update council on what’s happening with that in due course but there will be further green projects to come over the coming months and years.”