People using the Swindon to Marlborough Railway Path for their everyday journeys now have a much smoother and drier route to enjoy.

Improvement works completed by walking and cycling charity Sustrans have been made possible thanks to the support of the EU-funded North Wessex Downs Leader project,

The £31,009 grant funding allowed Sustrans to complete nearly a mile of new path surfacing north of Ogbourne St George.

Land manager Alistair Millington said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to do this work with the help of North Wessex Down Leader.

“We are looking to improve the path every year but 2019’s is the biggest single project we’ve done.

“I’m really pleased with the new picnic benches because it’s something that families visiting the path had really wanted.”

People using the route can now rest and relax more easily because the funding included enough money to enable Sustrans to provide 11 new benches.

These include three oak picnics benches at locations chosen for the great views of the downs.

Visitors should see new signs at entrances to the path – plus the access points have been modified to make it easier for trailers and tricycles to get onto the path.

As well as the Leader-funded work, the Friends of the Railway Path have designed and installed three interpretation boards at other locations on the path to tell people about the local history and habitat.

Sustrans manages the path, which runs for 10 miles through the Marlborough Downs connecting the towns and several villages.

Dick Millard from the Friends of the Railway Path said: “We are delighted with the new surface which will make it much easier to use the route from Coate Water to Marlborough.

“There are now more facilities along the route, which we think will encourage more people to enjoy the journey through the landscape.

“We are also very pleased that it is now easier for people to access the path.”

Sustrans is a charity which aims to make it easier for people to walk and cycle.

A spokesman described its work as “connecting people and places, creating liveable neighbourhoods, transforming the school run and delivering a happier, healthier commute.”