A PROJECT to make a well-used town footpath safer for women and girls got underway this month despite being hindered by the cold weather.

Volunteer group Coleford Welcomes Walkers (CWW), which works to improve and promote the town’s footpaths and public spaces for locals and visitors, has just embarked on its latest project dubbed ‘Safer Walking - Working to reduce violence against women and girls’.

The project, a continuation of the group’s works on the Milkwall to Coleford Cycle Track this year, involves installing fencing, adding new “defensive” plants and cutting back an overhanging canopy to improve visibility on the track. 

It is being funded by a grant from The Forest of Dean Community Safety Partnership, which is made up of local organisations including the Forest Council and Gloucestershire Police. 

Works on the track began earlier this year as part of national volunteering day The Big Help Out. 

Local volunteers joined CWW in clearing the area around the Coleford entrance to the track and re-installing part of the fence line. 

Volunteers worked throughout the year to also paint the five-bar gate and the dog bins, keeping the track clear of litter, and cutting back vegetation. 

In applying for the grant, CWW wanted to contribute to aiding the area to make it safer for women and girls, thereby encouraging them to get out and walk along the popular and well used track. 

On Friday (December 1), workers from Ubico, which provides ground maintenance services on behalf of the Forest Council, aided CWW volunteers in erecting the fencing. 

A volunteer day was planned for Sunday (December 3) to plant 500 bare root plants, but had to be postponed a few days earlier as it was too cold for them to be planted. 

Group Chair Debbie Sturgess says the planting will now likely be carried out in January, and to follow the Coleford Welcomes Walkers Facebook page for updates.

A post following Friday’s works read: “It was a tad cold on site at the Old Station Way entrance to the Milkwall to Coleford Cycle Track this morning to witness the start of our latest project “working to reduce violence against women and girls”. 

‘This work is possible due a grant from the FoDDC’s Community Safety Partnership Grant.

“A big shout out to UBICO who volunteered to support this important community project and provided the manpower to erect the fence.“