AN idea first put forward 40 years ago has finally been completed with the official opening of the Shallcross Incline Greenway in Whaley Bridge.
The route, on a historic former railway, has been brought back into use after work by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) and Whaley Bridge Town Council.
It was thanks to the generosity of the late George Shuker, a Whaley Bridge Town Councillor for 22 years, who donated land, that the new multi-user greenway, suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and people using wheelchairs and mobility scooters could be created.
His widow Dorothy was guest of honour at the launch and cut the ribbon.
“I would have been glad of it when I was at school, walking it would have been much quicker than going down Elnor Lane,” she told the Advertiser.
The incline was part of the Cromford and High Peak Railway, completed in 1831 and shut down 61 years later. It linked the canal basin in Whaley Bridge with the Cromford Canal 33 miles away in a journey that took two days to complete transporting limestone, cotton, coal and general goods.
Whaley Bridge Town Council Chairman Jon Goldfinch said: “It is hard to imagine how important a role it played. Generations benefited from its operation.”
Horses pulled wagons along the more level tracks while stationary steam engines were used to pull wagons up the steeper inclines.
Earlier efforts to open the Shallcross Incline failed but in 2010, after funding became available, the project was looked at anew with Cllr John Swift helping to move it forward.
“It is thanks to Cllr John Swift and the generosity of the late George Shuker who donated a piece of land that enabled it to go ahead.
“The new trail is already extremely popular with horse riders, cyclists, walkers and children,” said Cllr Goldfinch.
Derbyshire County Councillor Jean Wharmby, Cabinet Support Member for Highways, Transport and Environment. said, “I am so pleased to be here at the launch of another fantastic greenway scheme.
Cllr George Wharmby, Chairman of DCC said: “It is of great benefit not just to the local area.”