Bure Valley Path gets a boost from the EXPERIENCE project’s green infrastructure investment

06 January 2022

Initial work will be carried out at six points at Aylsham station, Burgh Road crossing, Buxton station, Coltishall station, Belaugh Road crossing and Wroxham station. This covers one third of the 9-mile route and resurfacing is to get underway in December 2021 and continue through to the end of March 2022.

Cllr Lana Hempsall, Norfolk County Council Member Champion for Sustainable Transport, said: “These improvements will entice more visitors to The Broads and showcase the railway heritage of the Bure Valley Railway. Developing new experiences draws in visitors all year round and extending choices for attractive nature walks or cycling can help avoid the overcrowding at some of the more popular tourism spots at busy times of the year. This type of sustainable tourist offer, for both local people and visitors to our lovely county, will help to support Norfolk businesses and contribute to our ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral as an authority by 2030.”

This initiative is part of the European Union funded EXPERIENCE project – a €23.3m project to promote off-season experiential tourism and sustainable economic growth. The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme under the Natural & Cultural Heritage funding category (€16.1 million) and by Norfolk County Council (€1.8m). The project is being led by Norfolk County Council and involves six pilot regions in England and France. The aim is to promote off season tourism which is low impact and more sustainable for the environment, local businesses, and residents.

Norfolk County Council has allocated £587,789 from the EXPERIENCE funds for widening paths, gravel resurfacing, habitat creation and railway heritage features along the Bure Valley Path. An additional contribution of £259,124 from the Greater Norwich Growth Board Infrastructure Investment Fund will go towards further improvements including waymarking of new circular walks.

Councillor Alan Waters emphasised that “this is another fantastic project the Greater Norwich Growth Board (GNGB) is helping to fund, which will benefit residents, businesses and visitors to the area. These improvements will create an attractive offer to cyclists, both in Greater Norwich and those visiting from further afield.”

Working in cooperation with Broadland District Council to roll out the green infrastructure enhancements, the plan introduces planting and protects plants and wildlife along the pathways from damage, encouraging habitat diversity.

Broadland District Council portfolio holder, Jo Copplestone, explained: “the pandemic has shown us how important it is for us all to spend time in the fresh air. This project will open up a new gateway to The Broads National Park and the improvements will deliver better entry and exit points for individuals that have access needs. There will be five circular path routes for people to enjoy, with directional signage and heritage information about the Bure Valley.”

EXPERIENCE provides vital support to encourage low impact forms of transport and leisure which are more sustainable and contribute to lowering carbon emissions.

A Cycling UK report shows that cycling tourism contributes £650 million a year and 15,000 jobs to the national economy providing opportunities to build a vibrant and climate resilient tourism sector.

Cromer, Wroxham and Hoveton has been selected as Cycle Hubs by Cycling UK, Norfolk County Council and the Broads Authority, as part of the EXPERIENCE project, with more hubs to be launched in the county in 2022. They will be developed into a destination for cycle tourists by supporting and training local businesses and stakeholders to enhance the year-round experiential offer.

The EXPERIENCE project supports local tourism and hospitality businesses across Norfolk in developing new, low-environmental impact, off-season tourism experiences. The project contributes to Norfolk County Council’s plans to cut carbon emissions and support nature recovery.

About the EXPERIENCE Project

EXPERIENCE is a €23.3 million project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (€16 million) through the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme and designed to develop the experiential off-season economy in the future in a safe and sustainable way. The project is a 4-year scheme that runs from 1 September 2019 to 30 June 2023, involving 14 partners in France and England. The project is managed by Norfolk County Council which is piloting new and more sustainable approaches to tourism. EXPERIENCE aims to capitalise on the emerging global trend for local tourism and engagement with the great outdoors, heritage, and culture.

Visit www.tourismexperience.org

About the Greater Norwich Growth Board

The Greater Norwich Growth Board is a partnership comprising Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council, South Norfolk Council, Norfolk County Council, and the new Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The Partners have established the GNGB in order to work together, delivering homes, jobs, and infrastructure in the area. As part of this remit, the GNGB provides strategic direction, monitoring and co-ordination of the Greater Norwich City Deal and the wider Growth Programme for the Greater Norwich area.

Visit www.greaternorwichgrowth.org.uk/

About Cycle Friendly Places

Cycle Friendly Places accreditation offers added value for businesses and ensures a high-quality experience for cycling visitors/customers. Businesses are assessed on their provision of quality facilities (such as cycle parking, storage and access to tools), welcome, and information for cycling customers (such as knowledge of local routes and bike hire).

Businesses benefit from training and support offered through EXPERIENCE, as well as participate in events, which will promote infrastructure improvements and experiential itineraries developed as part of the project.

Visit www.cyclinguk.org

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