Tourism and Rural Access in Cornwall Project

Tourism and Rural Access in Cornwall (TRAC) is an externally funded project managed by Historic Environment projects which seeks to establish two strategically important links in Cornwall’s multi-use trail network.

Funded through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and commissioned by the South West Regional Development Agency under the Sustainable Rural Tourism theme, the TRAC Project is a three year project running until June 2013.

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TRAC is one of six RDPE funded projects that provides improved access to pursuits and interests based in the countryside across the South West.  The project will provide two new recreational trails following as closely as possible disused railway corridors in the east and north of the county which will link to well established and popular routes in Devon and Cornwall.  By increasing the value of the inland tourism the project will provide opportunities for expansion and diversification of businesses away from the popular coastal areas. The total budget for the project is £1.3m of which £80,000 is from East Cornwall Local Action Group with the remainder coming from the RDPE programme.

In Launceston, the project will create a new off-road multi-use trail from central Launceston travelling west 8km to Egloskerry along the route of the old railway.  The project is expected to provide new tourism opportunities for local businesses.

In Bude the project will create a new off-road multi-use trail from Helebridge to the east of Bude along the line of the disused railway to the Devon border near Titson.  This will provide a 5km link from the Bude Canal towpath to the emerging Ruby Way and on to the Tarka Trail.

Other benefits from the investment will include:-

  • Increased visitors to other attractions including those adjacent to the trails;
  • New business opportunities associated with visitors;
  • Increased exercise opportunities and consequential health benefits;
  • Improved safe access to the countryside;
  • Improved marketing and promotion of the trails and associated activities;
  • Long term contribution to completion of longer distance trails, in particular the Camel Tarka link;
  • Environmental sustainability of the activities supported;
  • Safe routes to school.

This is a €9.4 million project being developed by the Brittany Tourism Board and aims to promote eco-aware tourism through infrasctructure improvements and joint marketing of a strategic network of recreational trails for cycling, horse riding and walking in South West England, Brittany and Normandy.

This will be achieved by:-

  • Site works at strategic points or missing links;
  • Improving site facilities at ports and railways and promoting use by cyclists;
  • Joint marketing and promotion of the routes, local businesses and transport i.e. boat, bike and train.
  • Creating partnerships for promoting green tourism;
  • Supporting local businesses by offering technical advice, running workshops and sharing knowledge.

The total budget for the Cornwall element of the project is £500,000 made up as follows:

  • Interreg IV cycle - £350,000
  • Local Sustainable Transport Fund - £150,000

Cornwall Council cabinet member for the environment Julian German said: "These projects will create one of the most attractive, varied and predominantly off road trails in Britain, if not Europe, and will act as a magnet to those wanting to explore our beautiful countryside, stay fit and be Green. It’s good news for local people, local businesses and our environment and it’s vital we make the best of this great opportunity to help diversify the attractiveness of our region to all potential visitors including our friends in France and northern Europe."

Adam Paynter, Cornwall Council member for Launceston North said: “The TRAC project offers fantastic opportunities for local people, tourists and businesses to benefit from much needed EU funding.”
    
Phil Parsons, Cornwall Council member for Altarnun said: “Cycling, horse riding and walking are enjoyed by many people of all ages both in Cornwall and across the country.  We have seen the success of the ‘Camel trail’ and I hope we can have a little of that same success here in Launceston and the surrounding area.”

Survey work has been undertaken at Launceston and Bude including engineering, flood and a wide range of ecological surveys.  Project Officers are now finalising route options with landowners and the wider community.

The TRAC project aims to create multi-use trails for cyclists, horse-riders and walkers following as close as possible former railway corridors at Bude and Launceston. In addition at Launceston the original intention of the project was to enable the parallel extension of the Launceston Steam Railway from Newmills to Egloskerry. The project is part funded through the Rural Development Programme for England managed by DEFRA and is due for completion by December 2013.

Cornwall Council is unable to deliver all aspects of the original scheme owing to land assembly issues and the budgetary constraints of the scheme. Cornwall Council is in discussion with DEFRA over the delivery of the original scheme and possible amendments to allow a deliverable project to progress. The Council will not enable the parallel extension of the Launceston Steam Railway within the project and is proceeding on the basis that the project will only deliver the multi-use trial.

The benefits of the revised scheme have been re-assessed and the scheme as now amended still delivers significant benefits to the area. In particular, the scheme will see the delivery of 7.9 kilometres of new trail, over half of which will be off-road. The envisaged affects of the scheme will see an additional 21,000 visitors to the area, half of which would be staying visitors, the other half being day visitors. Current projections show that the above will result in the creation of 20 additional jobs and in an additional £750,000 of visitor spend. In addition to the above, the scheme will encourage locals and visitors alike to engage in healthy recreation with the associated additional benefits this will bring.

Cornwall Council has previously been in dialogue with the Launceston Steam Railway over the proposals, however, as the proposal no longer realises their aspirations, they have formally withdrawn their support for the project. Cornwall Council is making a renewed offer to meet with them.

Cornwall Council remains committed to delivering this key project for the Launceston area.

Detail planning for the path at Newport linking Ridgegrove Lane with Ridgegrove Hill and the industrial estate east of the Co-op is proceeding. An application for planning permission is to be submitted in the New Year. This is funded by INTERREG IV through the Cycle West project together with Local Sustainable Transport Funds.

Due to lack of progress with land negotiations at Bude DEFRA have requested that this element be formally withdrawn from the TRAC project. Cornwall Council is committed to seeking alternative opportunities for trail development in the area but could not deliver this element within the DEFRA funding timescales.

Cllr Adam Paynter elected member for Launceston North says “I welcome the significant investment which this will bring to the east of the county. The economic benefits to the area from the scheme are huge and should not be ignored. The scheme will also provide much needed green infrastructure within the Launceston area contributing to meeting the needs of the resident population and visitors alike.”

Cllr Phil Parsons elected member for Altarnun comments “The families I speak to over the proposals welcome the opportunity to provide this much needed green infrastructure within the area. It will be an opportunity for all to enjoy on and off-road walking, cycling and horse riding, enhancing the access to the countryside. This a great opportunity for the east of the county to realise the much needed investment the area deserves.

For further information about the TRAC project or progress updates please contact us using the contact details on the right hand side of this page.