A RAILWAY line formerly used by the Ministry of Defence in Monmouthshire will be transformed into a walking and cycling route.

Monmouthshire council says the redevelopment of the 2.9km track between Caldicot and Caerwent would fulfil ‘long held aspirations’ to promote the county as a walking and cycling destination.

Sustrans, a sustainable transport charity, was commissioned by the council to assess the line’s suitability for the project.

The line runs alongside Crick Road, one of the council’s strategic housing sites which received outline planning permission for nearly 300 homes in November.

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Issues have been raised around surface water drainage, but the council has suggested discharging water onto nearby council-owned land by way of an easement crossing the line.

An artist's impression of the proposed Crick Road development

If this easement is needed, the railway line could cost up to £100,000 to buy. If a surface water connection is not required, the proposed purchase price is £1.

The cost to acquire the railway will be funded from the sale of the Crick Road site to developers Melin Homes, with the first receipt expected by end of March.

Council leader Peter Fox welcomed the proposals to bring the line back into use at a full council meeting on Thursday (January 17).

Monmouthshire council leader Peter Fox

“This is something that has been on the cards for some time, and I’m pleased that progress has been made,” he added.

Councillor Alan Davies added: “When we first started talking about this I had brown hair. We talk about health and wellbeing, and this will promote this.”

While also welcoming the scheme, Councillor Armand Watts had concerns about the impact on local wildlife, as well as the potential six-figure cost.

The abandoned line once transported supplies to the Royal Navy Propellant Factory during and after the second world war, when it was taken over by the Royal Air Force.

It is now used by the MOD as a training base and as a filming location for film and TV projects including Captain America: The First Avenger and Top Gear.