Strawberry Line tunnel temporary closure

The Strawberry Line tunnel at Shute Shelve, near Winscombe, is set to temporarily close for two weeks next month. This is to allow routine maintenance of the tunnel to take place, as well as the felling of surrounding diseased ash trees.

The tunnel will close at 7.30am on Monday 2 October, with a continuous closure in place until it reopens, which is currently planned for noon on Monday 16 October.

Due to the nature of the work and the machinery involved, the closure will be in place in both directions and for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.

A diversion for pedestrians will be in place to the north of the tunnel, through Slader’s Leigh Nature Reserve. As this is not part of the national cycle route, the diversion is not open to cyclists. A diversion route is unable to be offered to the south of the tunnel due to work taking place nearby. This means the A38 will be the only alternative route to the south of the tunnel during this time.

People are asked to follow signage, which will include maps, in place throughout the work.

In addition to maintenance work on the tunnel structure, which includes checking for loose rocks and maintaining the catch nets in place, the council will carry out essential tree work at the same time. Nearby trees have been identified as having Ash Dieback, a fungal disease which is often fatal to trees. A rapid decline in the health of these trees means that urgent action is needed to remove them for safety reasons.

We don’t take the closure of any part of the Strawberry Line lightly as we realise the inconvenience and disruption that it inevitably causes. Every effort is being made to carry out the work on time. I’m pleased to see that the tunnel maintenance and tree work are being coordinated to take place at the same time.

Ash Dieback is now a national problem. Unfortunately, there is no way of stopping the disease and it’s feared it may affect up to 90 per cent of ash trees in Britain. Having carried out a survey of all our ash trees in North Somerset, we published an Ash Dieback action plan last year that sets out how we’re dealing with the issue.

Trees alongside this popular public right of way have been identified by our tree officers as unsafe and as they pose a danger to users, their urgent removal is being prioritised. Safety is of paramount importance

Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s executive member responsible for leisure and open spaces

The Strawberry Line is a very important route for many of us in Winscombe and beyond. We use it daily for commuting, cycling, walking dogs and children and every sort of non-car getting about! We appreciate that maintenance is needed and are pleased that the council has chosen to do it out of school holidays and the summer season

Councillor Joe Tristram, North Somerset Council ward member for Banwell and Winscombe,

To keep up to date, please like and follow the Nature and Climate North Somerset Facebook account (NatureandClimateNorthSomerset).

More information about Ash Dieback can be found on the council’s website at

For more information about the Strawberry Line in North Somerset, visit and for more information about the whole route, visit

Press release by North Somerset Council