Leisure Trails

Members – Cllrs Maude & James
In conjunction with The Avon and Arrow Greenway Project (AAGP)

As part of NDP Policy SP14: FOOTPATHS AND CYCLEWAYS the Parish Council called a meeting back in 2018 of adjoining parishes extending to Alcester Town Council to the north and Evesham Town Council to the south. The purpose was to investigate the potential of developing pathways for walkers and cyclists across parish boundaries with the following objectives:

– To promote safe and responsible leisure routes (e.g. cycling, walking) within and across Parish boundaries thereby improving the health and well-being of the local population
– To provide a forum for neighbouring communities establish links with safe cycle and pathway routes
– To champion and seek funding for the development of an improved infrastructure for cyclists and walkers in the area
– To provide a source of information and advice to local and visiting cyclists and walkers
– To promote tourism and encourage visiting cyclists and walkers to use local businesses
– To reduce dependency on the motor car, reduce pollution and so improve our environment

From that initial meeting it was very clear that there was enthusiasm for such a project among the parishes. The route would be based on the old railway line between the two towns that closed in 1962, and would run along a 10 mile spine route between Alcester and Evesham. As a result of that first meeting it was agreed to set up a group and take the challenge on!

That group was comprised of representatives from the parish and town councils of Alcester, Bidford on Avon, Cleeve Prior, Evesham, Exhall, Harvington, North and Middle Littleton, Norton and Lenchwick, Offenham, Salford Priors and Wixford. It was originally called the Cross Parish Cycle and Pathways Project (CPCPP) but this was changed soon after to the Avon to Arrow Greenway Project (AAGP).

An early decision was taken to commission and fund a Feasibility Study for the project from ‘Sustrans’, the National Sustainable Transport Charity. This excellent comprehensive study has formed the basis for the work of the group since then.

Very significant progress has been made over the last two years or so. All Town and Parish Councils support the proposed route. Discussions are being held with major local landowners and the AAGP has the strong backing of organisations such as the Heart of England Forest and the Avon Navigation Trust.

The section of the AAGP from Station Road, Salford Priors to Wixford (just the other side of the river Arrow bridge from the Fish Inn) is the first section of the route we hope to see implemented.

It is all within the Salford Priors parish area. Most of it is along the old railway line and the remainder is along public footpaths. This operation to eventually install a path for use by walkers, cyclists and equestrians is shared between AAGP and Salford Priors Parish Council Leisure Trails Working Group.

Detailed mapping of the route has been undertaken by the AAGP. Initial findings of the Ecology Study that has been undertaken have shown that there will be little effect on the local wildlife.

Legal agreements are being sought and once these have been finalised and various permissions have been granted we can go ahead and start to install the first section of AAGP route.