A £1.5m active travel network that connects homes, schools and businesses in Pencoed includes a new ‘glow in the dark’ path that will guide walkers and cyclists during the winter months.
The 300 metre path, which runs through the Woodlands playing fields to link up Brook Vale with Llwyn Gwern, has a photo-luminescent resin surface that harnesses UV light during the day so that it can emit a gentle light to help make the route visible in the dark.
From Llwyn Gwern, the safe off-road route continues through to Pencoed Comprehensive School and Croesty Primary School, forming part of a wider scheme to improve active travel access in Pencoed which has been funded from the Welsh Government’s Safe Routes in Communities programme.
The scheme has been developed by Bridgend County Borough Council in partnership with the schools, the local community access group, and Sustrans, with support from Redrow and Halo Leisure. The new path was installed by Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd.
Hailing the new path as a shining example of how to encourage residents to choose more active forms of travel over cars, Councillor Richard Young, the council’s Cabinet Member for Communities said:
This is the first time we’ve installed such a surface in the county borough as an alternative to more traditional lighting so that the path can be used at night. It’s a really exciting innovation and we are sure that this route will be popular with pupils and parents, providing a realistic option for cars to be left at home for the daily school run.
Councillor Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities
Councillor Young added: “We are grateful to the Welsh Government for their continuing financial support for this project through the Safe Routes in Communities programme which, following successful funding applications made by the council, has seen an investment totalling more than £1.5m in Pencoed over the past three years.
“I am also thrilled to announce that we have successfully bid for additional funding to complete a third phase of the scheme in Pencoed which will extend the existing off-road route from Coychurch.
“The pavement will be widened along the western side of Coychurch Road to create a new off-road route for cyclists and pedestrians from the junction of Coychurch Road/Pencoed Way right through to the school gates.
“Active Travel improvements take time, energy and money, but we are excited that an extensive network of safe cycling and walking routes is coming together in Bridgend County Borough.”
The initial idea for a path through the fields came from a young pupil at Croesty Primary School. Head teacher Martin Kaye said: “Our pupils always enjoy the opportunity to travel on two wheels so are keen participants in the Active Journeys programme which is delivered in our school by the council and Sustrans.
“Children discussed what was preventing them cycling, walking or scooting to school, and suggested the possibility of a path through the playing fields. They are really excited to see that idea become reality.”
Bridgend County Borough Council Leader, Councillor Huw David said: “The last few years have seen a significant change in how local authorities approach the planning of walking and cycling schemes as a result of the Active Travel (Wales) Act introduced by Welsh Government.
“Schemes such as this make it possible for people to leave their cars at home and choose a healthier, greener form of travel for shorter everyday journeys as part of their daily routine, and set a trend that can be continued by future generations.
“The recent announcement of an additional £60m funding for Active Travel in Wales over the next three years from Welsh Government will hopefully mean that we will be able to deliver many more such schemes in Bridgend County Borough in the coming years.”
Roger Dutton, from Sustrans, said: “Working with children and staff at Croesty Primary on the Active Journeys Programme, it’s clear that there’s a real enthusiasm throughout the school community to travel actively. We worked with the pupils to identify barriers and think of solutions that would allow more families to scoot and cycle, ensuring that the pupils were central to the process, which proved to be a rewarding learning experience for everyone.
“Active travel has many benefits for the whole school community, and so it’s important that young people have the opportunity to access safe and convenient routes wherever practical. This new path is an innovative way to encourage families to walk, scoot and cycle the school run, and to keep doing so during the darker winter months too.
“Bridgend County Borough Council should be commended for trying something new and we hope to see more innovation like this in the coming years.”