Campaigners hope to convert disused Rhondda tunnel for benefit of locals and tourists
Steven MorrisSun 12 Aug 2018 13.59 BST
A Welsh valley will become home to Europe’s longest walking and cycling tunnel if volunteers succeed in their attempt to bring a two mile-long masterpiece of Victorian engineering back to life.
Enthusiasts say the disused Rhondda tunnel will encourage local people to lead more active lives and attract visitors to an area that has not been a tourist hotspot but has begun to attract more cyclists and hikers.
Steve Mackey, the chair of the Rhondda Tunnel Society, said: “It’s a wonderful structure. I think it will be a huge boost to an area that needs all the boosts it can get.”
The hope is that within three or four years cyclists and walkers will be able to get off the train at Treherbert at the end of the Rhondda line and head along an off-road path to the tunnel portal – or enter the tunnel at the opposite end in the old mining village of Blaengwynfi.
The councils at either end of the tunnel, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Neath Port Talbot, have begun to put their weight behind the scheme this summer and earlier this month the Welsh government awarded £250,000 to Rhondda Cynon Taf to develop plans to reopen two tunnels, the Rhondda and the nearby Aberrant.