Developing the McClean Way

Former railway with Lichfield Cathedral in background

A study that could see cyclists and walkers benefitting from a new greenway between Brownhills and Lichfield is getting underway soon.

Lichfield District Council is starting work on a project that could transform a mothballed railway track into a new cycle and footpath linking Brownhills to Lichfield.

Working with Network Rail and Sustrans, the national walking and cycling charity, the council will assess a section of the old South Staffordshire Railway line between Lichfield and Brownhills for its potential to reopen as a greenway. This would link Brownhills to Lichfield, continuing the National Cycle Network which runs between Walsall and Brownhills.

South Staffordshire Railway initially opened in 1849 and was used for passenger travel and to transport coal and oil. The branch line has since been closed to passenger and freight services, but much of the track still remains.

A feasibility study will be carried out this summer to understand the scale of the project, likely issues, opportunities, costs and how best to develop it. The findings will be used to draw up a project plan and engage with the local community and partners.

Councillor Doug Pullen, Leader of the Council, said:

"Having seen, back in 2018, the excellent work carried out by the community group Back the Track, who are working to open up part of the disused South Staffordshire Railway between Walsall and the A5 as a leisure greenway, I'm tremendously excited that we are now in a position to explore the development of a greenway from Brownhills to Lichfield.

“This project presents real opportunities for our health, mental wellbeing, local connectivity and our visitor economy. I'd like to thank Network Rail and Sustrans for their willingness to bring it to life."

Councillor Richard Cox, Cabinet Member responsible for Leisure, added:

“We’re excited to get this project started, as creating a high quality off-road cycle and footpath will be a great asset for the district. It will connect the National Cycle Network and encourage more of our residents to exercise and commute to work safely.”

Published: 13 May 2021