EIGHTY walkers joined members of the Heart of Wales Line Trail Steering Group on July 4 for a special guided walk led by Rail Ramblers. The event started at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms, with refreshments and short speeches from key funders.

The unveiling of a banner at the railway station marked the completion of the first section of the trail between Craven Arms and Knighton. Walkers then boarded the 10.37am train to Broome, for a five-and-a-half-mile walk back to the Discovery Centre, via Aston-on-Clun Community Cafe.

Paul Salveson, Arriva, said: “This is the first completed section of an ambitious, 140-mile cross-border walking route that weaves between railway stations from Craven Arms across Mid Wales to Llanelli. The huge support for the launch of phase 1 shows the enormous potential of the Trail. It could become one of the premier walking routes in the UK. And all accessible by train!”

The launch and walking event was supported by Rail Ramblers, Arriva Trains Wales, Network Rail, Shropshire Council and Rights of Way team, the Heart of Wales Line Travellers’ Association and REPTA.

David Edwards, Heart of Wales Line Development Company, said:

“The event went exceptionally well and I think all concerned are to be congratulated on the results of their efforts – in particular Les Lumsdon and the trail team, Arriva, Cllr Lezley Picton and Dave Stanbury of Network Rail (who should have been on leave!). As the Trail Steering Group has said, this is a ‘work in progress’: let’s ensure that the next stages are equally – or even more – successful.”

To sponsor the Trail, send a cheque marked TRAIL made out to Heart of Wales Line Travellers’ Association,?to PO BOX 778, Swansea SA4 5BL.?Please include name and contact details.