Swansea Council has started work upgrading a Clyne Valley bridleway to create a welcoming walking and cycling route that links Olchfa to the sea.
The new path will be accessible to children in buggies and the disabled for the first time and mean pupils at Olchfa Comprehensive will have a safe off-road route to school.
Work has already started on the project and the next phase of the work is beginning this week on Olchfa Lane and Clyne Valley as part of the 2.5km scheme connecting Gower Road near Olchfa Comprehensive to the seafront near Blackpill.
And Swansea Council has gone to great lengths to ensure bats, hedgehogs and other creatures and plant-life who have made Clyne Valley their home are staying safe during the construction phase.
It’s commissioned a detailed independent ecological study of the area and hired an ecologist who will help supervise the upgrade to ensure creatures and plants are protected.
Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement and Infrastructure Management, said the project will help open up Clyne Valley so that visitors can enjoy the area in an environment-friendly way.
He said: “The project is being delivered in line with the ecological report and following further advice from local experts to ensure the biodiversity of the area is not disturbed.
“We’ll also have an ecologist who will be working with the construction team to provide guidance and advice.
“We’ve also discussed our plans with Natural Resources Wales who recognise the importance of good active travel routes and have welcomed our actions in consulting them to help fulfil our Section 6 duty under the Environment (Wales) Act.
“They have confirmed to us that there is no reason to object to the work continuing.”
Measures are being put in place to keep plant-life, fungi, slime moulds and wildlife safe, to avoid any accidental damage to these species and habitats during the path upgrade and to prevent pollution.
As originally planned, the council will be taking steps to enhance natural habitats by providing bat and bird boxes, treat and remove invasive non-native species and create habitat piles for reptiles.
Cllr Thomas said the route will provide for residents of Killay a traffic-free access to the sea and a number of other destinations like the city centre. The 2.5km shared use path will also provide an alternative route for pedestrians and cyclists to take them away from the congested Gower Road.
He said: “At the moment the bridleway is suitable only for walkers, riders, local people exercising their dogs, some off-road cyclists and runners.
“The upgrade will provide traffic-free benefits for cyclists, the disabled and young people using it as a route to school as part of our active travel programme.
“At the same time it will open up this area of Clyne Valley to more people who will be able to appreciate the wonderful natural habitat on our doorsteps.
“Clyne Valley is one of the green gems of our city. We’re already working with local voluntary groups so that in the coming months we’ll be able to install interpretation boards and way-markers that will continue to improve the experience of all those who will want to use the route.”