AN eight-mile cycling route between East Kilbride and Glasgow has opened.

National Cycle Route 756 starts at East Kilbride rail station and runs through East Mains, Kingsgate, Nerston, Cathkin, Rutherglen and ends at South Lanarkshire Council's boundary with Glasgow at Shawfield.

The cycle route also incudes a link to Stewartfield Way at the Kingsgate Retail Park.

The majority of the route uses quiet residential streets and some off-road routes.

However, the route also takes in the Rolls-Royce plant, Nerston industrial estate, Overtoun Park and Rutherglen shopping precinct.

The link onto Stewartfield Way also provides access to James Hamilton Heritage Loch and The Museum of Rural Life.

The work, which involved pathway widening and the upgrading of controlled crossings, has taken around four years to complete and cost around £240,000.

Chairman of South Lanarkshire Council's Enterprise resources committee, Councillor Chris Thompson, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that this wonderful cycle route is now open to the public.

"This route offers wonderful opportunities for people who wish to use it to get to and from work and also for those who just enjoy cycling.

"With so many points of interest it will soon become very popular."

The opening coincides with 2009 National Bike Week.