A new woodland walk and cycle path along a former railway loop line in Coventry is to be ready for the City of Culture celebrations in May 2021. The final phase of Historic Coventry Trust’s plan to create a two-mile circular walk and cycle route on the disused rail line was approved by council planners last week. The £700,000 scheme will create a new leisure route from Gosford Green towards the Sherbourne viaduct, before looping back along the River Sherbourne, past the historic Charterhouse and ending at Far Gosford Street.
On the map the red line shows the proposed new walking and cycling route, the stretch along the Sherbourne River is still to be decided on as only some parts are accessible at the moment. The stretch from Far Gosford Street to Gulson road and along the river in front of the Charterhouse are accessible. It is anticipated that this route will be completed in the next few months or year.
Plans to redevelop the Heritage Park, will breathe new life into the loop railway line, a site which has been out of use for many years. In 2014 there were plans for seven houses to be built right in the middle of the route, local residents and the Coventry Charterhouse Association objected.
The new woodland walk will link the two historic city sites associated with Richard II – The Charterhouse & Gosford Green, which was the site of the biggest medieval event in the country, the so-called ‘Duel That Never Was’ between Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, and Henry Bolingbroke, who became Henry IV.
This plan has been in the making for many years. The Charterhouse Residents Association in the 1990’s were the first to voice concern about the Charterhouse building, the fields and the old railway loop line. A friends of the Charterhouse was set up, called the Coventry Charterhouse Association which became the main campaigning group, along with the local residents.
The last use of the Charterhouse building was as part of the Coventry City College. They vacated the site in 2009, since when it been empty. The College offered the building for sale in 2011 but met with strong local opposition from this community association, who rightly opposed the sale.
The Charterhouse Coventry Preservation Trust (CCPT) was formed and acquired the building and some of the land in 2012. It worked its way through a backlog of repairs, to keep the building wind and watertight while it develops its plans for the future. The Trust benefited from the very active Friend’s group, the Coventry Charterhouse Association.
As the Trust made its plans they were getting larger, taking in the London Road Cemetery which had its own Friend’s group, and then the plans to make the railway loop line into a nature walk and cycling route. The Trust became the Historic Coventry Trust, a Company Limited by Guarantee and now has control of Draper’s Hall in Bayley Lane, Priory Cottages, Whitefriar’s Monastery, and Cook Street and Swanswell Gatehouses. In addition a large part of Burges and Hales Street shops has recently been restored.