Cyclists steaming along Hemel Hempstead’s Nickey Line have contributed to an explosion in the use of the former railway track.
A survey organised by the Friends Of The Nickey Line group which promotes the use of the path found that over a one-week period the number of people using the line had soared by more than 250 per cent in recent years.
The survey was last carried out in 2006, when only about 1,500 people made use of the line.
But earlier this month that total topped 4,000 – and cyclists were the group showing the biggest growth.
In 2006 there were fewer than 300, but this year’s figures show nearly 1,300 - an increase of 330 per cent.
Walkers, dog walkers and runners have all shown big increases, too.
Organisers of the work say they are taking into account the hot weather which may have tempted more people than usual into the great outdoors.
Friends group chairman Dave Abernethy said: “The hot weather clearly affected the way people used the Line.”
But he says that the underlying reasons for growth are the increasing popularity of exercise, and the fact that the Nickey Line is an attractive place to do it.
He hopes that the growth will continue, and urged people to make use of the seven mile walking and cycling path that runs from Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden.
To learn more about Friends of the Nickey and find out how you can get involved, visit their website www.nickeyline.org.