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Walkers, cyclists, dog walkers and many more gathered on Sunday 25th November to celebrate the opening of a new footpath and cycleway between Aldermaston Village and Aldermaston Wharf.
The area has been in desperate need for an official and safe link between the wharf and the village for decades. Up until now villagers have had the unsatisfactory option of walking along the A340 and contending with fast moving cars as there is no pavement.
The path is approximately two kilometres, and cost approximately 500,000 to construct. Funding was provided by section 106 money from a recent AWE planning application process.
The new path will bring many benefits, the top one being safety. It means village residents and those living by the wharf now have easier access to each others’ facilities including the church, local recreation ground, and the railway station, and Canal Visitor Centre.
It also links with the National Cycle path along the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath.
The official cutting of the ribbon was carried out by local nine year olds Kyle Brown and Ed Hiscock who both attend Aldermaston CofE Primary School, Wasing Lane, and were commended for their excellence during a recent cycling proficiency test.
Also at the ceremony were AWE Director Site Steve Fussey, and Wasing Estate owner, Josh Dugdale, who had donated the land for the pathway.
For this reason the new path has been named Wasing Way. West Berkshire Council oversaw the construction and finalised the plans which were prepared by Sustrans, the cycling charity.
Following the event, Mr Fussey said: “Working together with a number of important local stakeholders including West Berkshire Council and Aldermaston Parish Council, we are delighted to have supported the project to provide a tremendous local amenity. This path will provide real benefit to the community and it’s a great addition to the local area.”
Families, cyclists and others gathered at either end of the path and then met in the middle for the official ceremony at noon.
Cllr Dave Shirt, of Aldermaston Parish Council, addressed more than 200 people who had turned out for the event, and said: “When this project started, we had nothing but a blank piece of paper. We got in touch with Sustrans, and boy did they help us! They helped oversee everything from planning through to land negotiation. We are extremely grateful to Wasing Estate, who gave us the land at peppercorn rent, also to AWE who provided the finance, and to West Berkshire Council which managed the actual construction.”
The Rev Becky Bevan, Rector of the Aldermaston and Woolhampton benefice, gave a blessing, and afterwards said: “Aldermaston is a village which has a strong sense of community. The footpath opens up new ways for us to get together and to reinforce the links between the wharf and the rest of the village – it’s a very positive development in the life of this community.”
Tea and cakes were provided at The Old Mill following the ceremony.
Notes to Editors
1. AWE plays a crucial role in national defence by providing and maintaining warheads for Trident, the UK's nuclear deterrent.
2. AWE is contracted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) through a Government-owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement. Whilst our sites and facilities remain in government ownership, their management, day to day operations, and the maintenance of the nuclear stockpile is contracted to a private company AWE Management Limited (AWE ML). AWE ML is a consortium comprising three equal partners: Serco Group plc, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Jacobs Engineering Group.
3. For further information contact Media@AWE.co.uk or 01189855888.