A HISTORIC structure on the East Lancashire skyline will be opened to walkers on Saturday.

Closed for more than 16 years, Martholme Viaduct will be reopened following six months of restoration work.

The grade II-listed structure stands over the River Calder and will allow walkers to admire views towards Simonstone, Accrington, Whalley and Great Harwood.

The 300 metre-long walkway was closed in 2001 following a foot and mouth outbreak.

Now work, including cleaning up the walkway across the top, repairing the parapets and putting in benches, has been finished.

John Barker, chairman of Martholme Greenway group, said this was a major milestone towards the creation of a path link from Great Harwood to the Padiham Greenway.

He said: “I’m delighted we have finally got it ready to be open, it’s very exciting.

“The work that has gone in is incredible.

“Around 18 of our group, along with staff at the Sustrans charity have done an amazing job.

“The views from the viaduct are incredible, you can see so much from up there and at night it is perfect for stargazing.”

The viaduct was completed in 1877 and consists of 10 rounded arches, each around 12 metres wide.

It served trains running on the North Lancashire Loop, also known as the Great Harwood Loop, a nine-mile route through the town, as well as Simonstone and Padiham.

Last year, a one-off event saw people take part in a miniature train ride across the viaduct for the first time since the track was removed in 1965.

In 2015, a select few people were allowed to walk across the viaduct as part of a seven-mile ramble from Great Harwood and across the structure.

It was led by Barbara Sharples, walk leader from the Great Harwood Prospects Panel.

The structure will be opened by Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones and Cllr Noordad Aziz from Great Harwood at 1pm.