A DISUSED railway tunnel in Monmouthshire could be turned into a cycling and walking path.

Usk tunnel is one of several unused railway tunnels in Wales that charity Sustrans are looking to develop into walking and cycling routes for residents and visitors. 

Last year, the charity – which encourages people to walk, cycle and use public transport in order to reduce motor traffic – looked at 21 former railway tunnels in Wales to see if they were eligible to be turned into walking and cycling routes, at the request of the Welsh Government.

Gwyn Smith, Sustrans’ area manager for South East Wales, then shortlisted five as a priority, including the Usk tunnel.

Mr Smith said the tunnel, which is 234 metres long, “would give direct access to Usk Primary School and would avoid the A472”.

For the past few years, the Usk Trail Access Group (UTAG) have been looking into creating safer walking and cycling routes in the area.

The chair of the group, Matthew Hamer, said UTAG recently put in a planning application for a cycle/walking path from Little Mill to Glascoed, which would link with the disused tunnel route.

He said: “It would great to see funding go into making a proper route for the tunnel, as it’ll link with what we are doing. 
“It will be great for families and people can use the routes to go to school and things like that.”

A spokesman for Monmouthshire County Council said the council is developing Integrated Network Maps (INMS) – future walking and cycling networks – for Usk and six other towns in Monmouthshire.

He said: “It is quite possible that they may contain a route making use of the tunnel but this is by no means certain.”

“Incidentally, both the Local Development Plan and the Local Transport Plan contain proposals for an Usk traffic relief scheme/bypass. 

“A number of alignments have been looked at, including using the tunnel.”