Ambitious proposals for a Clyst Valley Trail route between West Clyst and Topsham are the subject of a public consultation which has launched today (Monday 9 May).
Devon County Council and East Devon District Council are in the early stages of designing the multi-use route, which will connect Exeter with nearby towns and villages in East Devon.
People have until Friday 10 June to comment on the proposals by completing the online consultation survey.
This attractive 8-mile (13 km) route, which passes through picturesque parkland and river valleys, will be accessible for walkers, cyclists, mobility scooters and, where feasible, horse riders. It will enable people in and around Exeter to enjoy the new Clyst Valley Regional Park and East Devon, while also providing an attractive, safe, and direct commuter route between towns and villages along the River Clyst and Exeter, as well as surrounding employment areas such as Exeter Science Park, Skypark and Winslade Park.
More than 40,000 people will be able to benefit from the route which will link Pinhoe in Exeter with the Exe Estuary Trail. It will also connect to 12,000 new homes and businesses near the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone, as well as nearby towns and villages including Clyst St George, Clyst St Mary, Sowton, Clyst Honiton and Cranbrook.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “The Clyst Valley Trail is a high priority route as part of the delivery of Devon County Council’s multiuse trail strategy and this consultation is a good opportunity for people to have their say and help us refine the proposals at this stage. The trail will promote leisure trips to the East of Exeter which will support local tourism, recreation and hospitality businesses. It will also encourage sustainable commuter travel, providing health and well-being benefits to local communities and supporting carbon reduction targets.”
Councillor Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment, said: "I am really excited to see the plans for the Clyst Valley Trail. As a 'multiuse' trail it will benefit everyone: walkers, people with disability, cyclists, families and horse riders too. The trail will take people from their front doors into work, places of historic interest, our fabulous countryside and country pubs. So, if you’re young or old, or need the help of an e-bike (like myself!) please support the creation of this new trail and enjoy the benefits it will provide."
Councillor Sara Randall Johnson, County Councillor for Broadclyst, said: “I welcome this next stage to deliver the much-anticipated Clyst Valley Trail.”
Councillor Henry Gent, County Councillor for Broadclyst, said: “I think this will be very popular and part of the increase in cycling that we expect to see in the coming years as bikes and e-bikes become the best way to get around Exeter and the outskirts of town. It’s also exciting to think that this route will join with the Exe Estuary Trail to the south.”
The Clyst Valley Trail would be delivered in three sections. Devon County Council and East Devon District Council have been working together to establish the optimal route for the trail.
The scheme would support the Climate Reduction plans of both Councils, encouraging an increase in walking and cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and providing people with an alternative to car travel for short distance journeys.
The route will be well served by bus with West Clyst, Clyst Honiton, Clyst St Mary and Topsham all having several buses per hour into Exeter. There are also railway stations at Pinhoe, Cranbrook, Digby Sowton and Topsham, which are all within 2km of the trail.
Alternatively there are opportunities to talk to the consultation team who will attend Parish Council meetings at:
- Clyst St George on Wednesday 11 May at 7.30pm at Clyst St George Village Hall;
- Broadclyst on Monday 23 May at 7pm at Westclyst Primary School;
- Bishops Clyst (Clyst St Mary and Sowton) on Wednesday 1 June at 7pm at Clyst St Mary Church.
Following the consultation, the scheme plans will be updated before approval is sought through Devon County Council’s Cabinet and East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee.
Paper copies of the consultation leaflet, maps and survey can be requested by emailing email@example.com or by writing to: Transport Planning, Devon County Council, Matford Offices, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD.