Cessnock City Council Trails Strategy recognises value of colliery rail network
Posted on 23/06/20
Cessnock City Council (CCC) recently released their Trails Strategy. The Strategy was developed by CCC and by Tredwell Management to “provide a vision for the region’s trails network with a consistent policy framework to guide development and management of trails across the Local Government Area (LGA)”.
Importantly, following input from Rail Trails Australia and enthusiastic community members and groups, the Strategy identified the network of mostly abandoned colliery rail lines in the LGA, and recognised the importance of protecting them for use as potential active transport links.
The Strategy also identified the potential linkage of these trails to the proposed Richmond Vale Rail Trail, which also runs on an abandoned coal railway. This in turn would connect to the cities of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie via the very popular Fernleigh Track and several existing cycleways.
The Cessnock area rail trails would provide opportunity to promote areas of indigenous significance, sites of early colonial and colliery history, and access to several isolated villages. The linkages and colliery rail lines are shown in the diagrams in the report.
Other Cessnock area trails could also improve connection for walkers and cyclists to the popular Lower Hunter wine region, which would be an excellent attraction for local and touring cyclists.
The Strategy recommends establishment of a Trails Reference Group as a high priority. Rail Trails Australia are pleased that CCC has indicated its intention to establish a group via expression of interest in coming months, and would encourage local rail trail enthusiasts and other community groups to participate in the process as opportunities arise.
The full strategey can be accessed from this link.