Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) users are in for a festive treat as National Grid has today opened an alternative route on the Trail at Dunford Bridge on the edge of the Peak District National Park.
For the next four weeks trail users will be able to enjoy a 4km circular walk that takes in the existing TPT from Dunford Bridge and loops back north of the River Don, opening up new views of the Dark Peak landscape. National Grid is encouraging the local community to explore the new views and try the route for themselves.
After a four-week period, the existing section of the TPT from Dunford Bridge will close while National Grid buries electricity cables underneath the trail. This is part of a major landscape enhancement project to remove seven pylons and replace 1.5km of overhead electricity line with underground cables, transforming views around this eastern gateway to the Peak District National Park.
It is one of the first projects anywhere in the world to bury the electricity network underground for entirely landscape reasons and has been developed over several years with input from Barnsley Council, the Peak District National Park Authority, the Trans Pennine Trail Office, Natural England, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Dunford Parish Council, and members of the public.
Once the cables have been installed and connected, the first pylons are due to be taken down permanently in summer 2022.
Muhammed Ali, Lead Project Manager at National Grid, said: “The circular route we have created offers the perfect option for the traditional Boxing Day or New Year’s Day walk. We’re working with partners at the TPT office, Barnsley Council, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Peak Park to encourage people to use the loop before we close part of it in January.
“Users of the TPT will then have the chance to use the diversion until later in the year when we will close it and re-open the existing TPT once the cables are buried. Views from the diversion should be particularly good during springtime with all the riverside flowers brightening up this classic Dark Peak view.”
The work is part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project*, which is a national stakeholder-led programme to reduce the visual impact of existing high voltage power lines in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks across England and Wales.
Stakeholders have been at the heart of the project throughout. The area was originally chosen from a list of more than 100 possible sites by a national Advisory Group chaired by environmentalist Chris Baines and including organisations such as the National Trust, CPRE and the Ramblers.
Chris Baines, chair of the national Stakeholder Advisory Group which has overseen the development of this and the other VIP projects, commented: “This is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been involved with and will transform an area I grew up in and have great affection for.
The result will turn the area around Dunford Bridge into a wonderful eastern gateway to the National Park and will enhance the enjoyment of the millions of locals and visitors who come to the Peak District every year. When those first pylons come down in 2022, it will spell a wonderful new chapter for Barnsley, the TPT and the National Park.”
For more information about the VIP project in the Peak District and to keep up to date with the latest activity, please visit: peakdistricteast.nationalgrid.co.uk
*About Visual Impact Provision
All electricity transmission owners are funded by a price control mechanism which is agreed with and set by Ofgem, the electricity and gas markets regulator. Ofgem is in the process of agreeing a set of price controls and incentives for the period from April 2021 to March 2026. The new price controls and incentives include a provision to mitigate the visual impact of existing electricity infrastructure in nationally protected landscapes in Great Britain.
For National Grid, which is the electricity transmission owner in England and Wales, this means considering the visual amenity of our existing infrastructure in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
[BE1]I’m not sure what is meant by ‘adapting their project accordingly’ in this context. Suggest we just lose this sentence?