This is a press release issued by the Steam Coast Trail
The Steam Coast Trail now has a new Project Officer. Sarah Ellwood, who lives in Watchet, will oversee the launch, maintenance and promotion of Phase Two of the Steam Coast Trail (1.1km), which links Dragon’s Cross in Old Cleeve to Cobblers Steps (near Old Cleeve First School), Washford. Phase One, which launched in December 2016, links Dunster Beach to Blue Anchor Bay and has been used by thousands of visitors each month.
Harry Singer, Chairman of the Friends of The Steam Coast Trail, says, “I’m really pleased to welcome Sarah to the Team and look forward to her help in launching Phase Two of the Steam Coast Trail. I’m also very grateful to our last Project Manager, Briony Turner, for her hard work and dedication over the last few years. Phase Two is looking fantastic and will be open to walkers, cyclists, runners, wheelchair users and responsible dog owners from October. There is a public launch event on the 21st but we hope to actually be open before that.”
Sarah has significant experience of community projects, mostly through local charity, Watchet Roots, of which she was chair for two years. A keen cyclist herself, Sarah was also responsible for overseeing the installation of the Watchet Community Outdoor Gym, and was a key organiser of the Watchet Marauder charity cycle event in 2014.
Cllr Andrew Hadley from Minehead also welcomes Sarah’s appointment to the post. He says, “’I am delighted Sarah has joined the team. I look forward to working with her on delivering the Steam Coast Trail Project which will be a fantastic resource in West Somerset for significantly boosting the local tourism offer as well as promoting not only cycling but healthier lifestyles, accessibility and road safety.”
The Steam Coast Trail, which is supported by West Somerset Council, Sustrans, the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund, and the Community Impact Mitigation Fund from EDF, continues to struggle with the issue of the ‘gap’ at Blue Anchor. The 660-metre stretch, where cyclists must dismount and divert to the beach which is also impossible to access at high tide, is owned by The Blue Anchor Chalet Owners Association (BACOA). For several years the Steam Coast Trail has tried to negotiate a mutually agreeable position for the path, exploring a number of different options, but to date there has been no successful outcome. The Steam Coast Trail absolutely respects the wishes of BACOA but are hopeful of reopening negotiations following the appointment of Sarah in the hope that a resolution can be reached in the near future.