Cornwall Council is working to secure around £25 million in investment to build an array of new trails. The additional paths would cover large areas of Cornwall and could be used for cycling and walking connecting areas previously only joined by road.
Proposed routes include trails between St Agnes to Truro, Perranporth to Newquay, St Newlyn East to Carland Cross and Trispen to Idless.
The plan is to create a “comprehensive, high quality walking and cycling network in Central Cornwall”. The council added “Building on recent investment within Truro this network has the potential to reach out to outlying settlements, overcoming severance caused by the A30 trunk road”.
“The network will link with housing and employment growth areas, connect coastal communities, provide sustainable access to key services and help address congestion and air quality issues in Cornwall’s commercial heartland.”
Included in the project are routes also aimed at tourists, with UK cycle tourism being worth over £600 million a year and 10% of visitors to Cornwall cycling during their stay these new routes could provide vital to bringing more people to the region.
Bay to Bay Trail
The bay to bay multi-use trail is the initial focus for the project “The Bay to Bay multi-use trail builds on the proven success of the Camel Trail and the convenience of public bike hire schemes to create a 30km trail with bike hire hubs at a number of key locations connecting Penzance, Marazion, Hayle and St Ives and several small settlements.”
Included under the plans are bike hire centres along the route, similar to those deployed on the current Camel Trail and in cities such as Brighton. The project has been split into four phases, the first is to create a path from Marazion to Mousehole. The second covers Marazion to St Erth, the third runs through to Hayle and the last phase would join the entire network to popular holiday destination St Ives.
Cornwall Council is to provide £1.6m in funding for phase one and is requesting £1.4m from the Government.
Looe Valley Trail
Also proposed as part of this new initiative is the Looe Valley trails “The vision is to create new cycling and walking trail networks in South East Cornwall linking Liskeard, Looe, Bodmin and Torpoint”.
Project costs are suggested to be around £16 million for the entire trail but there would be the possibility to join the new trail with the existing Camel network. This would enable coast-to-coast cycling and arguable crown Cornwall the cycling capital of the UK!
The council projects that it could bring an additional 500,000 visitors to the region and inject up to £18 million a year into the economy.
On paper the plans sound fantastic, the existing Camel network is extremely successful, with around 425,000 visitors a year, and a new bay-to-bay network covering all of Cornwall’s tourist hotspots joined with the Looe Valley trail would effectively place the whole of Cornwall within cycling distance.
We hope that the plans can be delivered on but projects like this have a habit of escalating in costs before the first shovel even hits the ground. Fingers crossed that Cornwall Council can deliver on their bold plans!