At our meeting on 16 March Trustees of the City of Durham Trust decided to support the campaign for the reopening of the stunning Grade II Listed Belmont Viaduct as a footpath and cycle way. The campaign is being led by the Friends of Kepier Woods and already has the support of Belmont Parish Council, Framwellgate Moor Parish Council, the City of Durham Parish Council, Durham Greenpeace and the Durham Green Party.
The Belmont Viaduct was completed in 1856 for the Auckland branch of the North Eastern Railway. It is one hundred and thirty feet high with eight expansive arches. It is now owned by Durham County Council and the land on both sides of the Belmont Viaduct was secured by the County Council as part of the unsuccessful Northern Relief Road scheme. One of the main obstacles to an earlier attempt to reopen the viaduct to walkers and cyclists was the opposition of landowners who at that time controlled the access, so that obstacle is no longer there.
The campaign to reopen the viaduct is in its early stages, but it fits well with moves to encourage walking and cycling as set out in the recently adopted County Durham Plan. The Trust will work with the Friends of Kepier Woods and other interested parties to promote the campaign.