Traffic-free trails for Cranbrook, Broadclyst and Pinhoe will link up countryside to encourage people to explore the great outdoors

Countryside paths and lanes around Cranbrook, Broadclyst and Pinhoe will be improved to create a network of walking and cycling routes linking up local green beauty spots.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said the Routes for Roots project was another step towards bringing the Clyst Valley Regional Park to life, planting trees and creating traffic-free trails.

The aim of the Clyst Valley Trail was to ‘form the backbone’ of a network, linking the Exe Estuary Trail with the Exe Valley Way, the council said.

EDDC called the regional park – half the size of Exeter – a ‘vital breathing space’, encouraging local people to get active outside and ‘discover hidden gems’ on their doorstep.

Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC portfolio holder for the environment, said the council hoped opening up countryside to all would help combat loneliness in the elderly and isolated, and encourage young people outside.

He hoped the link-up network would persuade parents with children to play outside, and the older generation to explore and visit areas of historical interest.

And as a follow-on from Great Trees in the Clyst Valley, where volunteers planted 2,700 trees, people can sign-up to become Friends of the Clyst Valley.

Cllr Jung said: “We’ve thought carefully and creatively about how we can help people explore wonderful places such as Cranbrook Country Park and Ashclyst Forest.”

The project has secured funding of £98,800 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, EDDC, LiveWest, Move More Cranbrook, National Trust, Active Devon and Devon County Council.

The district council said the project will:

  • encourage people to ‘get out there’ and discover the countryside with an ‘exciting’ range of guided walks on a variety of different themes. including wildlife, art, history and archaeology.
  • encourage communities to explore and record their own historic routes, with a series of local history roadshows and the creation of community maps.
  • get young people playing and socialising outdoors through activities like bushcraft, archery, and live action role-play.
  • train volunteers to monitor conditions of paths and routes so they can be prioritised for maintenance and improvement.
  • create new permissive paths.
  • plant a new generation of trees to reduce flooding, improve water and air quality and protect crucial wildlife habitats.
  • install improved signs, gates and path surfaces.
  • record historical features such as routes, mills, leats and water meadows.
  • install new public art showing the history of the area, such as the Cranbrook archer.

For more information, and to become a Friend of the Clyst Valley, see here 

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