PLANS to transform a former railway line between Little Mill and Usk into a new cycle path have been outlined. Under the plans submitted to Monmouthshire County Council, the disused line now used as farm access would be turned into an off-road cycle route.

Developers say the new route would link Usk with sustainable transport routes such as the railway and bus routes from Pontypool.

The route from Usk would link with the canal and other purpose built cycle tracks to Blaenavon and Blaenavon World Heritage Site, Pontypool, Cwmbran, Newport and the Brecon Beacons.

But concerns have also been expressed, with conservation charity The Woodland Trust among those objecting.

The application submitted is for the second phase of the cycle path project, with the other sections of the planned route between Glascoed Lane and Little Mill and connections to the roundabout at Mamhilad subject to separate applications.

The route runs parallel with the A472 located to the north of it between Usk Island and the A472 to the west of Coleg Gwent.

The plans include laying a path and building a fence to segregate farm traffic from cyclists and walkers.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the planning application states: “The disused railway line between offers a fantastic opportunity to provide an valuable sustainable transport link between Usk and Little Mill and beyond which can be used for both recreational and commuting cyclists.”

But The Woodland Trust has expressed fears over the impact of the plans on woodlands, the Rhadyr Orles and Be-Penvane, both of which are designated by Natural Resources Wales as ancient semi-natural woodlands.

In a letter addressed to Monmouthshire County Council, Phil Bryan – from the charity – wrote: “We are greatly concerned about the construction of a cycle route through Rhadyr Orles and along the dismantled railway that forms part of the edge habitat of Be-Penvane. “The paths being proposed would result in damage and loss to these valuable areas of ancient woodland.”

Rhadyr Farms has also lodged an objection comment.

In its letter, it says support for the cycle path would be on the basis the route does not interfere with current farm access.

It states: “The railway line cuts throughout the middle of the farm and is currently utilised for the daily movement of livestock, tractors and machinery.

“The proposal has considered this use, however, we do not feel the proposed solutions adequately meet the needs of the farm.”

View the plans by visiting and searching reference DM/2018/00757.