Members of walking group take a stroll with dignitaries as footpath opens

The new riverside walkway has opened at Anchorwood Bank in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleThe new riverside walkway has opened at Anchorwood Bank in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Barnstaple's new riverside walkway has opened today (Friday).

The 675-metre-long promenade - part of the new Anchorwood Bank development - was opened by North Devon Council chairman Jackie Flynn and newly appointed deputy mayor of Barnstaple, Ian Roome.

Among the first to use the new shared cycleway and footpath were member of North Devon Ramblers.

Group chairman said: "It is fantastic to see the new footpath open.

The new riverside walkway has opened at Anchorwood Bank in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleThe new riverside walkway has opened at Anchorwood Bank in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

"We will certainly be incorporating it into our walks around the town and I would encourage everyone in Barnstaple to use it.

The 3.5-metre-wide walkway features 24 lamp posts and joins the Tarka Trail with the Long Bridge, with an easy access point created by the bridge.

The outer wall is 60cm higher than the walkway - 7.82 metres above sea level - and will act as a major flood defence for the huge retail and residential development currently under construction.

Site developer Wessex Investors said the walkway would become a 'true asset' for the town.

Andrew Pegg, managing director of Wessex Investors, said: "We are delighted to be able to open the new riverside route in time for half term and give everyone that lives in or that is visiting Barnstaple the opportunity to enjoy it.

"The route, and indeed the whole of the Anchorwood Bank site, has been inaccessible to the public for many years and this is just the first stage of opening it up and creating a fantastic asset for the town."

For more North Devon stories visit our news feed here.