Cycle project will boost Peak towns

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Connecting the High Peak Trail and Monsal Trail is just one of the elements of the Pedal Peak District Project which has received a £5 million government funding boost this week.

Two new sections would be created, one between Buxton and Hurdlow and the other between Matlock and Bakewell, making the trail accessible for people from north Derbyshire, Manchester, Nottingham and Derby.

Three other trails are also being proposed. One is the Little John Route and Hope Valley Link which would provide an off-road route between Bamford and Hathersage, bridging the gap between existing cycle routes into Sheffield and Manchester.

Peak Cycle Links, a charity whose aim is to promote links to popular cycling and walking routes in the Peak District, has welcomed the news.

In a statement to the Buxton Advertiser, they said: “Peak Cycle Links (PCL) are delighted that the recent bid for funding to improve provision for cyclists and walkers was successful.

“This bid was supported by Derbyshire County Council and includes the White Peak Loop, a 60-mile traffic-free circuit, which has been the primary aim of PCL.

“Pursuits, such as cycling are more than just a leisure activity in today’s world. Good off-road links will improve accessibility to the countryside for both residents and visitors alike for work, local amenities and leisure.

“We hope that by linking the trails to local towns they will not only provide an economic benefit but also reduce traffic by giving local people and visitors the opportunity not to have to use their cars to travel locally.

“Better access to the trails from our towns should also help enfranchise people, such as the young and less able, who are dependent on others to get around.”

Tony Favell, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, added: “This is wonderful and exciting news for the Peak District. It is great for family cycling and for walkers too. It gives road cyclists alternative routes and eases traffic congestion. It will boost healthy living for people in the big cities of Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Stoke and at the same time benefit national park residents and rural businesses.

“There is a huge amount of work involved in opening up these four cycle-ways and there will be public consultation on the precise routes to be taken, but investing in traffic-free trails is a win, win situation for everyone and the environment.”

Planning applications for the four routes are expected to be submitted over the next year and the routes are expected to be completed by 2016.