WORK has begun on a new path that will make an area of natural beauty more accessible, following a £75,000 grant.

Improvements are being made to the path that runs alongside the River Bollin and into the Chapel Woods at Quarry Bank.

WREN, a not-for-profit business that awards money to community projects, gave a grant of £75,000 to help make the work possible, while further support was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“When it is completed the path will make a difference to thousands of people every year,” said Colin Gorner, lead ranger at Quarry Bank.

“Our goal is to provide access to nature and natural spaces for all, irrespective of ability, and this will certainly help us to do that.

“The WREN funding has been essential and we are extremely grateful for the support.”

Quarry Bank is a rare survival of a complete early Industrial Revolution community, and more than 210,000 visits are made every year to explore the working cotton mill, Apprentice House and garden.

But an estimated 50,000 more visits are made to the wider estate, with visitors enjoying walks in the surrounding countryside, and they often struggled along the unsurfaced stretch of path which became muddy in wet weather.

Access down to the river was via steep and narrow paths, which was a significant obstacle to anyone with mobility issues.

Local volunteers, including youth rangers, will now be involved in the project including area clearance, habitat enhancement and site management.

“The path will connect the Quarry Bank gardens to the wider estate,” Colin added.

“It will enable people with restricted mobility, from families with young children in buggies as well as wheelchair users, to travel through the woods and along the river – an experience that is currently difficult for them.”

Work is expected to be completed before the end of June.