Cyclists in the Chippenham area are hoping a family bike ride on Saturday will raise awareness of the need of reopen the popular cycle path to Lacock.

The North Wiltshire Rivers Route closed in November at Naish Hill because of a change of land ownership, and the only alternative route forces cyclists to go through the centre of Chippenham.

The route forms part of the Sustrans network and volunteer rangers are hoping this Saturday’s Fresh Air Miles event will highlight the importance of the path.

Ranger Tony Hack said: “The aim of the ride is to raise further awareness of the need to re-open the cycle path to give access to Lacock.

“We want to show a need for the pathway as a safe and quiet route into Lacock, because we haven’t got one at the moment.”

Wiltshire Council is in negotiations with the new owner of the land to see if an agreement over access can be reached.

Mr Hack described the alternative route that cyclists now have to take as convoluted and unsafe.

Referring to the closed route, Mr Hack said: “This is the most peaceful and historical section of the Sustrans paths in Wiltshire and it joins other paths if you can get to the end.”

The Fresh Air Miles cycle is part of a national event during which families will cycle along the path from Pewsham about five kilometres to the closure. Mr Hack said: “It is open to people of all ages and abilities, and it is a real family event. People can stop wherever they like along the way, and the aim is to have a picnic at the end before making our way back.”

Mr Hack and other volunteers hope families involved will also appreciate the work of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust along Pewsham Locks. He said: “The work that has been carried out by the trust is a treasure that needs to be enjoyed by Wiltshire people.

“That, combined with the national heritage of Lacock, provides one of the most enjoyable cycling and walking routes in the country.”

The ride will start at the Millennium Wall (behind New Look) at noon.