LONG-RUNNING plans to build a pedestrian and cycle path on a disused railway line have been submitted to the council.

More than 6,000 people have signed a petition supporting a resurrected project to build a shared use path through the Wye Valley from Chepstow to Tintern, known as the Wander Path project.

The project has also been backed by Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas on social media.

A campaign group, A-B Connecting Communities, was set up back in 2014 and has secured funding totalling £20,500 for the scheme.

Under the plans, the path would run along 3.4km of disused railway line, starting from the National Diving and Activity Centre (NDAC) and connecting to existing Forestry Commission paths.

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Once completed, NDAC will manage the works, and will eventually look to build a second stage through to Sedbury and the centre of Chepstow.

The plans would see the path run through the 1,080-metre long Tidenham Tunnel, which was used by trains until 1981 to serve a nearby quarry.

Stone trains continued to Dayhouse Quarry - which is now NDAC - until 1992 on the railway line which opened in 1876.

The section through the tunnel will have low level lighting to provide sufficient personal security whilst still maintaining a "memorable atmosphere" and catering for bats, according to the plans.

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"Tidenham Tunnel is the centrepiece of the Wye Valley Greenway," a design and access statement says.

"It provides for a direct, almost level and traffic free route in an otherwise very hilly and daunting area."

The tunnel will be locked at night, and inspected on a regular basis under the plans submitted to Forest of Dean District Council.

Work to lift the railway track will take place from now until July, with the path works planned to be built with the help of a voluntary work camp in September.

The works will be "low key in nature", with the path similar to nearby existing trails.

"The proposed path will create a significant extension to the visitor experience based on NDAC and provide local resource for walking and cycling," the plans state.

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Campaigners also hope to build a new footbridge across the River Wye from Sedbury to Chepstow, which would connect with the Wales Coastal Path.

The plans would help raise Chepstow's status as a "true gateway to Wales," while providing a continuous traffic free route, campaigners say.

A similar scheme was proposed by sustainable transport charity Sustrans in 2010 but the plans were withdrawn.

However the plans were resurrected, and have been backed with a £9,000 grant from Chepstow Town Council.