A HISTORIC East Lancashire landmark reopened to the public for the first time in 15 years.

Closed for more than 16 years, Martholme Viaduct 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.

Around 80 people turned up for Saturday's official opening, which was carried out by Hyndburn MP Graham Jones, Rawden Kerr, the Great Harwood town crier, Cllr Noordad Aziz and John Barker, the chair of Martholme Greenway.

Both Graham Jones MP and Cllr Aziz praised the members of the Martholme Greenway group for their hard work and persistence to enable this and the other aspects of the project worked on so far to achieve success.

The Hyndburn MP then commented on how the group need to move forwards to complete the link through to Read, Simonstone and Padiham.

Mr Barker said: "The event was a great success with a good public turnout despite the cold weather.

"The numbers we had exceeded anything I could have imagined and everyone was very positive about it.

"People from all over the county attended, many of whom I had never met before, which shows how important this is for the people of Lancashire.

"I talked to quite a few people on the day who were very happy with the reopening because many had fond memories of walking the path for many years.

"Many people were also keen to move the project forward and get the links to Padiham completed."

Cllr Aziz, who has been a big supporter of the campaign, said: "When the group started the project there were a lot of people saying it wouldn't happen.

"They deserve credit for achieving what they have.

"The group persevered and people will now be able to use it for picnics, walking and for the whole family.

"It's wonderful for the town and hopefully the residents of the area will enjoy it."