Gloucestershire County Council has made an order to create a new restricted byway along the track of the old Tetbury Railway. This runs from the Wiltshire Bridge on the B4014 Malmesbury road to the end of Preston Park crossing land owned by the Town Council and leased by the Feoffees. This section of the track bed had been used as a public path ever since the railway was closed in 1964 and believed by many people to be a right of way.

However, in 2021 signs were erected on the Town Council’s land stating that the existence of the path was not evidence of a public right of way and access was by permission of the Town Council. The following year an application was thus submitted to the County Council to make the route a public bridleway so it would have the same status as the rest of the Tetbury Trail. This was agreed by the County Council and the Order to create the right of way came into force on 30 November 2023.

Due to complex legal reasons the new right of way that has been created is a restricted byway but it is equivalent to a bridleway for all practical purposes. This means that everyone has a legal right to walk, run, ride, cycle and take dogs on or off the lead along the entire three mile length of the Tetbury Trail.

The section of the Trail the new right of way runs over had a crushed limestone all-weather surface installed when the Rail Lands were landscaped in about 2000. Crushed limestone is a natural material that isn’t obtrusive like tarmac and blends into the landscape over time.

The crushed limestone surface is suitable for pedestrians, horses and bicycles and particularly for the disabled who find it difficult to access the countryside. It is ideal for prams, pushchairs, mobility scooters, wheelchairs and rollators. It is also suitable for the elderly and less able who find it difficult to walk on rough country paths deep in mud with projecting roots and other trip hazards.

For these reasons a crushed limestone surface was also installed on the section of the Trail between the Newnton Hill road and a point about 100 yards past the Trouble House. Unfortunately, the owner of the land between the end of Preston Park and Newnton Hill won’t allow the Trust to install a crushed limestone surface on this section of the Trail.

Our thanks go to all those Trail users who took the trouble to complete the complicated County Council evidence forms to protect the route for current and future users.