The City of Wells lies sheltered beneath the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills and is regarded as the smallest city in England with a population of 11,000. The name Wells comes from three wells where a small Roman settlement was established, and later in 704, under the Saxons, a minster church was built. Remains of this earlier church can still be seen in the grounds of the present 12th century Norman cathedral which stands on the same site.
Proposals are underway to revive plans for a Strawberry Line shared-use path across the Centre of Wells connecting the Dulcote path and Wells Leisure Centre. A new Accessible Wells map has been produced by the Strawberry Line East (SLE), with the support of the new administration of Mendip District Council and Wells City Council, to show how a safe network of paths could connect residents to key locations of Wells and villages, and with the SL 'through route' another missing link is added for an 85-mile Somerset Cycle that will join Bath, Bristol, Yatton, Cheddar, Wells, Shepton Mallet and Radstock.
It also aims to help planners and developers recognise where shared-use paths should be considered for future sites. Until now there has been little forward planning for such paths, and functional links have failed to be included in recent developments, despite SLE lobbying.
The SLE, however, is pleased that after lobbying the developers and planners of the 220 new houses on the Haybridge site, they have agreed to include a shard-use path from the Leisure Centre to the A371 Cheddar road linking it to the new rugby ground, Haybridge residents, caravan site and buses.
Since SLE volunteers have taken on the maintenance of the Dulcote path, removing long stretches of overgrown vegetation and exposing an ancient cattle pound, the path is now widely used and enjoyed by many people. The ambition now is to extend the path so it can be used by workers at the new Charlie Bigham's food factory in Dulcote quarry.