The Elmet Greenway is a proposed safe walking, cycling and horseriding route along sections of the former Leeds to Wetherby railway.

Your questions answered

We get asked many questions, here are the answers to the most common ones with the most recent at the top. If you have any additional questions, please contact us using the form below.

Greenways help to sustain a community's economic, environmental and social health. They contribute to the health and education of our children, the management of conservation and the provision of recreational and green spaces for all. They provide a safe, multiuse, linear route connecting people with other people, other places, wildlife, Flora and fauna.

The clue is in the name..Green way. The line is a green pathway much in the same way as a bridleway. It provides a linear corridor in parts lined by trees and vegetation, which connects people, wildlife and places, away from the noise, pollution and stresses of traffic. Greenways are in parts multiuse off road gateways to our natural surroundings. As such they need protection from development and urbanisation and it is important that they are managed for sustainability. They are economically beneficial. They are open and accessible for people and wildlife and encourage the wellbeing of both. There are many examples on our website and Facebook page.

Read this endorsement from a reserves officer Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Elmet Greenway was formally known as the Pendas Way (Route 17 of the Leeds Core Cycle Network). The New Leeds Cycling Starts Here Strategy was formally approved by Leeds City Council’s Executive Board in June 2017. This followed the public consultation in 2016. It was developed by a range of partners from across the city to promote and develop cycling as a sustainable mode of travel, a sport, and to support the improvement of health and wellbeing across the city.
As part of the strategy, the aspiration for extending the cycle network outwards from the city to provide better connectivity for cycling and walking for community and recreational purposes was raised to the forefront. One of the route opportunities set out in the strategy is the Elmet Greenway, which could in parts follow the route of the former Leeds to Wetherby rail line where the former track bed is still accessible. This offers the potential to provide a quiet and safe countryside cycling, walking and equestrian route connecting the villages of Thorner and Scholes with the Crossgates area of Leeds. Previous feasibility work was commissioned and undertaken on this route in 2007 and updated in 2009, which identified route options and outline costs.
Since this feasibility study was carried out, permission has been obtained for the East Leeds Orbital Road (ELOR), which included new routing and crossing facilities for the proposed greenway at the point they would intersect. The greenway has been identified in the adopted in the Barwick-in-Elmet and Scholes Neighbourhood Plan and a group of volunteers from the local communities has been formed for a number of years and more recently established as a charity to promote and secure delivery of the greenway scheme. It is therefore timely to review and update the previous feasibility work to confirm that this is still a viable link for those communities as part of the strategic network and to engage with a wider range of interested parties as part of this process to ensure all views are heard. (From LCC regarding feasibility update)

Hopefully not if the disused railway line can be used.
Sustrans feasibility study for LCC will suggest surfaces on various parts of the proposed route. If there is funding available, different sections will have different requirements. These will be discussed with the local community. 
This is why the disused line makes sense. It has already been built with underlying hard surfaces so may need little or no work. Where the line has to be re routed eg. already built on or objected to by landowners, then this may lead to purpose built hard surface routes, or having to use a tarmac path or road.
Many old railway line sections have little or no resurfacing eg. Aberford flyline, Garforth Linesway (other examples on our website)
Where surfacing is needed it could be crushed stone, boardwalks, woodchip,or any other surface that suits the locality. Much of the work on a disused railway line can be done by the local community and this is happening all over the country.
But remember.... This is still a proposal !

Sustrans have significant experience of Greenway development throughout the country. At this stage they have been instructed by Leeds City council to produce an updated feasibility report for a Greenway route. As the final scheme is not currently funded, the process to appoint a contractor to design and build the final route has not started.
The Elmet Greenway is a completely separate organisation to Sustrans, there are no contractual or financial links between the two. As such we are confident there is no conflict of interest and the report will be impartial.
Also important to remember that any route decided on after community involvement has no funding attached so will mainly be down to volunteers support in the relevant community.

There is no proposed route yet. A feasibility study is currently looking at all suggested and possible routes. When completed the community will be consulted and all interested parties will be asked to discuss its findings. Even then, the route is not definitive. LCC have provided an explanation on their website and requested comments and feedback.

Preserving, enhancing and conserving nature and biodiversity is a top priority of the Elmet Greenway and other Greenways. Ecologists, conservationists and organisations who specialise in designing wildlife corridors along Greenways are involved in surveying and advising when a route is being planned. Read our post on Facebook from a Reserves Officer for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, supporting our aims.

The Elmet Greenway group have resolved to remain neutral on any development for housing in all areas along the route on the proposed Greenway unless they impact directly. To date, the only planning application to affect the proposed route was for the East Leeds Orbital Road (ELOR). We responded to this one application with concerns that the route of the former railway would be lost permanently.

All of our staff and trustees are volunteers so we have zero staffing costs. We rely on public donations and grants to help publicise our work through attending public events to running our website. As a charity we are able to claim gift aid from HMRC where applicable making the most of your support.

We are volunteers from the communities of Cross Gates, Barwick and Scholes and Thorner. The Elmet Greenway is a community project providing dedicated routes for walking, cycling and horse riding among nature.

Greenways are scenic corridors of land able to connect people, places and wildlife. Being mainly traffic free, they make quiet and enjoyable routes for people to walk, cycle and horse ride while experiencing their natural surroundings.

Greenways help to sustain an area's economic, environmental and social health. They can contribute to the education of our children, the management of conservation and provision of recreational spaces for all.

Greenways can have a positive influence on people by:
  • Managing and protecting green, open spaces and the environment.
  • Creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation away from traffic.
  • Encouraging physical and mental fitness and healthy lifestyles.
  • Strengthening local economies.
  • Connecting people and making communities better places to live.
Leeds City Council identified a possible route linking Cross Gates and Thorner along the disused railway line more than 10 years ago. Residents and some Parish Councillors of Cross Gates, Scholes and Thorner formed a steering group at that time when the route was called Pendas Way. A new group of volunteers formed in 2014 and the route has been renamed The Elmet Greenway.
Experts and organisations who specialize in designing wildlife corridors along Greenways are consulted and work alongside such projects. They offer design advice and ongoing help. Preserving and enhancing nature and biodiversity are among the top priorities of the project.
Greenways are made of various surfaces but are traffic free whenever possible. Some parts of the route may already have an adequate surface, others may require the use of surfacing materials to give a firmer base. Each type of terrain will be sympathetically planned to fit in with the natural surroundings as far as possible.
Rivers, canals, disused railways, bridleways, footpaths and cycle paths often lend themselves to becoming Greenways because they connect people to each other and to nature while supporting a wildlife network.
We want people to be able to access as many off road parts of the route as possible so that our communities have the use of a dedicated, safe route to connect them to and with family, friends and wildlife. It is hoped the Greenway will become a green community space providing links for work and school, recreation, leisure and pleasure.
Working with Leeds Parks and Countryside, we have already begun clearing a section of the line between John Smeaton School and Manston Lane.
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