SCORES of villagers took to the main road through Salway Ash to form a ‘walking bus’ highlighting the 30-year campaign for a footpath to the village school.

About 100 people of all ages wearing high-visibility jackets walked the route along the busy B3162 from the village centre to the primary school to focus attention on the lack of a safe footway.

The school is about half a mile from the village and 30 of its 110 pupils come from the immediate locality. Villagers say a path would form the “missing link” to join the two parts of Salway Ash.

The closure of Beaminster tunnel has forced hundreds more vehicles on to the road between Bridport and Broadwindsor, causing concern and disruption to people living in the villages along the route.

One of the organisers of the early morning Walk to School event, Sara Bennett, said it had gone “really well.”

“We have been fighting for many years to get a footpath.

“It really is hair-raising to walk down the road. You can’t see around the bends and the drivers can’t see you either.”

Parents, children and residents, including members of the local church, took part.

Mum of three Sara, who lives and works in Salway Ash, said the problem has worsened since the tunnel disaster: “It has always been bad but has become much worse, particularly in the early morning rush hour time.”

Local county councillor Rebecca Knox, who is working to see a solution put in place, said one option could be a form of “soft pavement” like those in South Perrott and Maiden Newton which provide a coloured area on the road, slightly raised but not a full pavement.

“This would narrow the road and might slow the traffic down, “ said Mrs Knox.

“The support for the walking bus shows that if there were a safe route then a considerable number of children would like to use it, and other walkers would use it too as it would join up the footpaths and bridleways.”

Dorset Highways project manager Andrew Bradley said: “We appreciate this safe route to school has been talked about for several years. We have a good route design and we have a budget in place, but there are some local issues that, at present, are preventing us from building it.”