A study has begun that could see a new route between Brownhills and Lichfield opened up for walkers and cyclists.

The former South Staffordshire Railway line

Lichfield District Council hopes to see the mothballed former South Staffordshire Railway line transformed into a greenway.

Network Rail and Sustrans will work with the local authority to assess the possibility of opening up the route for the public once more.

Cllr 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.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District council

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.

Cllr 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.”

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20 Comments

  1. 2017 I walked the track for the then Cllr Sue Woodward as info for her campaign, and have a automated photoseries to prove it, as well as the scars from the cutting jungles. This campaign went on for 2 years. Cllr Pullen was involved, I believe, and apparently repeated my exercise, as was the Lichfield Lore blogger Kate G (who did her ankle in on her attempt). To NOT credit Cllr Woodward is unworthy.

  2. Never mind a walking and cycling route to Brownhills,how about a footpath and cycling route between Burntwood and Lichfield. Surely this has to be more of a priority for the residents of Burntwood who are contributing to the coffers. What possible benefit is it for us?

  3. I agree entirely with Eddie59. I walked the old track yesterday from Walsall to Brownhills and it is great as a leisure route.
    However, we need a decent commuter route that is safe for all to use day and night. Neither this nor the Abnalls Lane route are suitable for single cyclists or pedestrians travelling from work to use at say 10pm, particularly in Winter. I hope that if these two routes come to fruition it will not preclude a town to town route along the A5190.

  4. People from Lichfield will presumably have to drive to Burntwood in order to access this ‘leisure greenway’. Eddie59 is spot on: we need a footpath and cycling route between Burntwood and Lichfield. It is ridiculous that there is no continuous footpath. I often see people walking in the road along the A5190, which is an accident waiting to happen but not surprising given the cost of taking the bus. This should be a priority for the council on the grounds of road safety if nothing else.

  5. How about a safe footpath between Burntwood and Pipe hill island ? This would be most appreciated. Currently anyone walking from Burntwood into Lichfield risks life and limb

  6. The canal towpath will form a walking route to brownhills so perhaps the council could work on that and run trams on the old railway

  7. It seems an excellent idea but from other comments it would appear that for several years it hasn’t got beyond being merely endless words and discussions. Lets hope that the words will finally turn into reality!

  8. Eddie59 has hit the nail on the head. This is what this country lacks, the ability to safely travel by walking or cycling between local towns and villages.

    I look on with great envy when I see these facilities in other European countries.

  9. Well there’s surely no reason why we can’t have both Eddie. I would have thought the cost of a cycle route to Burntwood would be quite low- there’s plenty of grass verge to use to put a tarmac path on.

  10. It won’t just be to Brownhills though Eddie. It will join up with a section already done to Walsall. It takes in the Ryders Mere nature reserve and passes throughout beautiful Clayhanger wetlands and nature reserves. It also connects to the canal towpath that leads to Chasewater, and exits at Pelsall Brownhills and Hammerwich enhance shopping and eating out facilities. The residents of Burntwood already use said section in ever increasing numbers.
    Re “never mind” and “how about” why not do what we did and make it happen through voluntary hard graft.

  11. If anyone from town planning is reading this please build a properly safe and useable walking / cycling route from Burntwood to Lichfield. It would be very popular. During lockdown I cycled from Lichfield to Burntwood often and even with the much quieter roads it was dangerous. I wouldn’t attempt it now the roads are busy again.

  12. An excellent idea!! Make good use of an existing track that’s been redundant for approx 50 years. This will provide an outlet for existing and the large influx of new housing developments surrounding Lichfield. Link this to the newly created excellent Heritage Trail and the McClean Way for traffic free routes to Chasewater and Chasetown.
    A walk/cycleway could be laid down alongside the trackbed which is predominately single track from Lichfield to Brownhills.

  13. I do loads of Cycling, Cycling from Burntwood to lichfield wouldn’t be to bad if motorists gave a little space when passing. I also run to lichfield and it definitely needs a path. I would use this railway too once finished so both would be great

  14. For goodness sake, can they stop talking about it and just do it. Overcoming the institutional inertia is like trying to run in quicksand. And while they’re at it, how about maintaining the cycle paths we already have. The ones along the Walsall road are like riding across a bomb site, as is the one along Eastern Avenue. And you can’t report a stretch of road to SCC, only individual potholes, which demonstrates a lack of understanding of how roads deteriorate.

  15. Only the British would rather see their train lines ripped up and turned into footpaths than have rail services running on them!

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