Visitors to Whisby Nature Park near Lincoln will now have access to the whole reserve thanks to a new footbridge.
The footbridge will allow visitors and reserve staff to safely cross a railway line, which passes through the middle of the reserve.
The original railway crossing was closed early last year due to safety concerns.
The project has been backed by Lincolnshire County Council, Network Rail, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and North Kesteven District Council, who have worked together to develop a suitable design for the bridge.
Access to the new bridge has been designed to protect the reserve’s valuable oak wood and scrub – an important habitat for nightingales – by using an old gravel pit ramp.
A new ramp has also been built on the north side of the railway, which will be planted with gorse to replace the lost habitat.
Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development, Environment, Planning and Tourism at Lincolnshire County Council said: “The new bridge at Whisby Nature Park will ensure visitors can access the whole of the park in safety, and enjoy the walks and natural habitat on the northern half of the site.
“The original crossing over the railway line had been identified as a high safety risk, and we’ve worked closely with partners to bring about an appropriate design for the new bridge.”
Dave Bromwich, head of reserves, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: “Considering the major construction works, the contractors QTS have worked closely with the reserve staff to minimise habitat disturbance. The replanting and restoration schemes will give us exciting opportunities to provide improved habitat.
“Visitors will notice a dramatic change on the north side of the bridge, a pond that had become overgrown and lost under a canopy of willow has been opened up, and at the north end of the Nature Park, the area where the spoil came from will be restored as heathland.”