A group of walkers at Belas Knap
Walking and talking pylons at the Winchcombe Walking Festival

Members of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project team swapped their hard hats for walking boots on Friday 17 May to host an event as part of the popular annual Winchcombe Walking Festival. 

The five-mile walk started at Postlip Mill and followed the path up the escarpment to Belas Knap and across the Cotswold Plateau, providing excellent views of much of the 7km of overhead line and 16 pylons that will be removed and replaced with underground cables as part of National Grid’s VIP project in the Cotswolds National Landscape.

Following a successful event in 2023, a group of keen walkers came from far and wide to hear the latest about how National Grid’s plans for the scheme are progressing.

Lead Project Manager, Robbie Griggs was on hand to discuss the engineering challenges involved and answer questions about the project, including why the landscape in this part of the Cotswolds has been singled out for special attention. The group also discussed local ecology and the measures that would be undertaken to minimise impact on wildlife during construction works and enhance biodiversity both onsite and in the wider area afterwards.

Participants also heard from Richard Morton, Principal Heritage Consultant at Cotswolds Archaeology, about the historic importance of the area and the archaeological survey work that has been undertaken. This area of the Cotswolds has a long history known to include neolithic, Roman and medieval settlements, and Richard described how expert archaeologists are working with National Grid and local experts to identify any archaeology present along the route.

The area is very popular with ramblers, dog walkers, horse riders and cyclists alike who visit the area to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and National Grid will aim to keep all public rights of way including the Cotswold Way and Winchcombe Way open throughout the works.

Speaking after the event Robbie commented: “This project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the skyline and to conserve and enhance this precious Cotswold landscape. I was delighted to participate in the walk and talk with walkers who share our enthusiasm for the project. I would like to thank Robert Talbot and his team at Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers for facilitating the event and allowing us to share the details of our exciting project”.