Parents' anger as students face 'dangerous' three mile hike to Somerset school

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Parents in Somerset say their children will have to walk a "dangerous, muddy and unlit" six-mile round trip to school every day after the council scrapped a local bus service.

Students living in the village of Winscombe who attend Churchill Academy normally take the bus three miles to school.

Now North Somerset Council has told parents the service is being axed and is likely to stop in November.

There are several dangers along the walking route, according to parents.

The council has suggested an alternative walking and cycling route, but parents say this is "dangerous" - especially considering some of the pupils are just 11 years old.

"It's not a safe way of doing it. If we lived in a town it would be different. Yes the kids could walk the 3 mile route there and back. But these are unlit dangerous pathways, narrow 60mph roads. It's busy," said parent Vickie Cottrell.

Jess Heath, 14, has been taking the bus from Winscombe to Churchill Academy for the past three years. She now faces a long walk to school this winter.

Part of the route is through a wooded area, which parents say would be dark in the winter months.

Councillor James Tonkin met with parents to reassure them that the council is looking into the issue.

North Somerset Council also issued this statement:

"We will keep the current bus service in place for as long as it takes for the safe (walking and cycling) route to school to be completed and also while some repair works are carried out on a section of the Strawberry Line.

"This is very likely to be until sometime in November."

If the plans do go ahead in November and the bus route is withdrawn, students who are 11-years-old face spending their first year at secondary school walking six miles every day.