A “Green Ring” route costing more than £1 million has been officially opened.

The St Albans Green Ring, a 6.5-mile cycle and walking route around the city, was opened by the deputy mayor, Councillor Brian Gibbard yesterday.

The route forms part of the St Albans City and District Council’s plan to encourage green transport and exercise by taking users through the city’s green spaces and heritage sites.

It runs from Townsend to Fleetville and Sopwell and then to Verulam Estate.

Cllr Gibbard opened the event with Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, portfolio holder for business and the community. They were joined by children from Bernards Heath Junior School and members of the St Albans Cycling Campaign.

Cllr Gibbard said: “The Green Ring is a fantastic new feature for our city and I urge everyone to take full advantage of it.

“It was a considerable challenge to link and enhance existing paths and cycleways as well as creating new ones to provide one continuous route. I am delighted all the various problems and obstacles encountered have been overcome and it is now complete.

“Residents can now enjoy a relaxing walk or cycle in the fresh air without worrying about the traffic or they can simply use the route to commute around the city.”

Cllr Gaygusuz said: “The Green Ring is a great example of partnership between ourselves, the county council and their countryside management service all coming together to deliver this marvellous project.

“It very much fits with our strategy of getting people out of their cars and making cycling and walking a first choice when it comes to travelling short distances. This reduces traffic congestion, air pollution and inspires people to get healthy exercise.”

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, chair of the community, cnvironment and cport ccrutiny committee of St Albans City and District Council said: “The Green Ring is an important addition to our local cycle network.

“However, a great deal more needs to be done to improve facilities for cyclists in St Albans. Both county and district councils must take an active lead going forward.”

The Green Ring was funded by the District and County Councils and a Department for Transport grant.