£500,000 Scheme Gets Underway To Extend Camel Trail And Create Green Route Through Bodmin
Carl Udry, Cormac Works Manager (left) and Councillor Neil Burden, Chairman of North Cornwall District Council's Regeneration Committee examine plans to extend the Camel Trail and create green route through Bodmin
Work is underway to build two new extensions to the Camel Trail and a new off-road route in Bodmin. These exciting developments are part of a wider package called 'Walk to Work' which will improve access to multi-use trails in North Cornwall.
The construction has been funded by a consortium of interests including Objective One, South West Regional Development Agency, Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund, County Environment Trust, North Cornwall District Council and Cornwall County Council. The £500,000 project is due for completion in December 2005.
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One partnership said: "These new improved trails will help to attract visitors to north Cornwall as well as adding more variety for existing users. The walks and cycle paths will link towns and villages and help to highlight Cornwall's proud industrial path while providing easier access to existing cottage industries around Wenfordbridge."
North Cornwall District Council put together the successful funding package which reflects the wide range of interests of the grant aid partners. As well as stimulating the local economy, the routes will encourage people to walk or cycle to work and school and improve their health at the same time.
Neil Burden, Chairman of NCDC's Regeneration Committee said: "Bodmin is a vibrant employment centre for North Cornwall and the town is continuing to expand and develop with the support of Objective One and the South West Regional Development Agency. These new routes will use council land to help locals and visitors enjoy safe routes to work, school and leisure. Cycling is becoming more and more popular and this project will help the town capitalise on its strategic position on the Camel Trail."
Included in the package is a new stretch of 3/4 mile at the northern end of the Camel Trail taking the route to Wenford Coal Yard, the original terminus of the railway built in 1834. Encompassing a corridor through Wenford Clay Dries, users will gain an insight into the area's industrial heritage which provided one of the incentives to create Britain's third oldest railway. The extension has been made possible on the ground by the decommissioning of the Dries and the generous support of Imerys who have gifted the land.
Ivor Bowditch, Public Relations Officer for Imerys said: "We are delighted to be able to give the land for an extension of the Camel Trail. The company are proposing more public access throughout the clay district and welcome the opportunity to highlight the important heritage of the clay industry."
There will also be significant improvements for Bodmin with a new 450 metre off-road extension taking users nearer the town and providing improved interpretation and signage. This has been a long held ambition of the Camel Trail Partnership (CTP) and will help to develop the former County Town as a key destination for users of the Trail.
Michael Cowling, Chairman of the Camel Trail Partnership said: "The Partnership is keen to see Bodmin develop its relationship with the Camel Trail and we are delighted that the extensions are moving forward. Bodmin is in a great position to use the expanding trails network towards both the north and south coasts."
The third strand to the project is the development of a new 'greenway' for the town which will link east and west Bodmin on the southern side of the Bodmin Beacon Local Nature Reserve. This new corridor comprises just under a mile of off-road pathway and will be surfaced and furnished to a standard suitable for year-round use. People will be able to use this trail to get to work and school and it will also link to other facilities including the Dragon Leisure Centre and the Cornish Way cycle and footpath network.
Bob Mitchell, Head Teacher at Bodmin Community College said: "Access to the college is an important issue for pupils, staff and governors. The new route will provide safe, direct access for some of our students, changing attitudes and encouraging an increase in walking and cycling. As long-term supporters of the project we are delighted it has come to fruition and will be working with the Council to ensure its success."
In addition to capital grants the project has also received funding towards a part-time post to promote the routes instigated by Sport England under its Active England Programme. Simon Ridd, Head of Strategy & Performance at Sport England sees this as an opportunity plan to encourage people to be more active and do at least thirty minutes of physical activity five days a week, which is a national Government target. "At Sport England we recognise that changing attitudes takes more than just the provision of the raw materials. We see the part-time officer working closely with the community to promote the benefits of walking and cycling and to encourage more people to use these new pathways."
This new funding is another feather in the cap for Bodmin which has received considerable support from funding agencies to develop its role as a key manufacturing centre for east Cornwall. This latest tranche of grant aid builds upon the investment in the Walker Lines Business Units and the creation of the Beacon Technology Park.
Carol Wilson, Environment Adviser at the South West RDA, said: "The Camel Trail has brought enormous economic benefits to North Cornwall and this project will make it much easier to access Bodmin from the trail while helping to link people with their places of work. Our investment in the trail complements our £2.94 million investment in the Beacon Technology Park on the site of the former St Lawrence's Hospital in Bodmin. This will support more than 800 jobs once fully developed and the parkland style setting we are creating will further enhance the new green route through Bodmin."
For further information please contact Matthew Smith of North Cornwall District Council on 01208 265642 or email: Matthew.Smith@ncdc.gov.uk.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Walk to Work through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
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