Plan to turn eyesore into a country park
THE Marsh Mills flyover is set to get a makeover as part of plans to create a countryside park to the east of Plymouth.
Work is starting this week on a new right of way beneath the A38 flyover to better link Plympton to the picturesque route along the River Plym.
Cyclists and walkers would be able to follow a clear path at the edge of Saltram when the right of way was opened.
Plymouth City Council hopes to transform an area under the flyover, which now looks gloomy, scruffy and attracts graffiti.
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The work is the first of many projects that would lead to the creation of new parkland, which would cover an area the size of 650 football pitches.
The countryside park would incorporate the National Trust-owned Saltram estate as well as Hardwick Wood and the former landfill site at Chelson Meadow.
Plymouth City Council, Natural England and the National Trust have been putting together ideas and talking to people about suggestions that would entice them to use the expanded parkland more.
They hope to create more than 11 miles of new routes to allow people to explore the area and enter the park through new gateways.
Historic features such as "Happy Valley" and Bickham Farm could be restored.
The development would encourage better links between communities and the countryside, such as ideas to develop orchards and other local food projects.
Restoring the filled Chelson Meadow landfill site would create a haven of natural beauty close to the city.
The countryside park would improve the area for wildlife to ensure that bats, otters and a wide range of other creatures thrive within the park.
The council also wants to improve the Ride with picnic areas and a natural play area.
Cllr Brian Vincent, the city's Cabinet member for the environment, said: "Some of the ideas are long term – such as restoring Chelson Meadow, but there are projects we can get cracking with that will help make the route into this parkland much more attractive."
The work will be carried out by Four Seasons Landscapes and will cost £8,000. It is expected to take a couple of weeks, depending on the weather.
The countryside park concept was developed after a study funded by the former Countryside Agency in 2005. It was seen as a way to meet the recreational needs of proposed new communities at Plymstock Quarry and Sherford.