A DISUSED railway line in the heart of the Lake District has been given a new lease of life after forming part of a new family-friendly cycle route.

Following a two-month project between the local community, the GoLakes Travel Programme and the Lake District National Park, the 1km off-road route will link Coniston and Torver.

The trail can be used by walkers, cyclists and horse-riders and takes in views of Coniston Old Man and the surrounding countryside.

“It is a proud moment for the community to see this new route open. Since the barriers came down locals and visitors have been enjoying walking, cycling and riding along the path,” said parish Coun Carole Barr.

Resident Wing Commander Geoffrey Kenyon originally suggested opening the railway in 1995 but the community plan has only now become a reality.

The railway opened in 1859 and ran from Coniston to Broughton in Furness. It was designed to carry copper ore and slate from mines in Coniston but by 1939 there were direct trains between Coniston and Blackpool – until passenger numbers dwindled and the line closed in 1958.

Construction of the new trail started in late June, with funding from GoLakes Travel. Torver Parish Council worked with the local community, Enterprise Breweries and others to create the scheme.

Enhancing cycle routes is one of the key strands of £6.9 million GoLakes Travel, which is helping people to find cleaner, greener ways to get around the South and Central Lake District.

Extensions to Windermere’s western shore cycle route close to Wray Castle are also due to be completed this autumn.