THOUSANDS have signed a petition to protect the cycle path between Chippenham and Calne, following the revelation that Wiltshire Council is considering its closure to cut costs.

The path, which runs along the old railway, was set up by North Wiltshire District Council and Sustrans and included the construction of two new bridges, but under pressure to cut spending, Wiltshire Council is considering its options as leases for the land come up for renewal.

But users of the popular path are outraged and on online petition has collected nearly 4000 names in just a few days.

Calne resident Linda Baker said she was horrified by the news: “I use it every day to walk my dogs. I joined the Calne running club and did a couch to 5k and I used that path for training, and since completing the fun run, I continue to use it on a regular basis. It’s safe, it’s secure, as a lone runner you feel happy in the knowledge there are people around.

She added: "People have come together – they love the path. It’s a fantastic amenity for Chippenham and Calne. All these extra houses are going up, that’s increasing the population by thousands, yet this amenity we contribute to through council tax is threatened. They are getting in increase in revenue but taking away our facility?”

Simon Pratt, from Sustrans, Head of Network Development for England South, said: "We are disappointed to hear that Wiltshire Council are considering whether to renew the leases on the NCN Route 403. We are pleased however, that Wiltshire have decided to engage the public in consultation, over this next year, before any final decision is made to terminate the leases. We would encourage our members, volunteers and users of the route to engage in this process, in order to hopefully reach a positive outcome. Sustrans are discussing how we can support the consultation process and consider the consequences to the closure of this part of the route."

Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for finance said: “We are looking into the options available to ensure this cycle path is sustainable for the long-term. Wiltshire Council provides its own land for much of this route, but we also currently pay private landlords for use of this route too. The leases involved have to be renewed periodically and are becoming more expensive. We have renewed them for this financial year, and this gives our officers time to look at the options available.”

To sign the petition, visit