Date issued: 28 February 2020
On Saturday 7 March, a wayfinding walk of the Highwoods section of the picturesque Colchester Orbital – a nearly 15-mile circular walk and cycle route around the edge of the town – will take place. The Orbital connects a network of footpaths, cycle paths and green spaces, to make an idyllic way for people to enjoy the countryside.
The guided walk will meet on Saturday 7 March at 11am at Highwoods Country Park visitor centre and is being led by the country park rangers. We will be using the opportunity to identify sites for way marker signs along the 4 Km route and explore the wildlife of the park. Residents, community groups and visitors are all encouraged to come along and discover the Orbital route.
The Colchester Orbital project was launched in 2018 under the Walk Colchester initiative, as part of the Jane’s Walk programme, an international initiative of local walks led by local people on local themes honouring the legacy of the urbanist, writer and activist Jane Jacobs. Colchester Borough Council has worked with a range of partners to support this community project, which has sought to promote, preserve and protect the circular route around the borough since 2015.
The project has been led by members of Walk Colchester, Colchester Ramblers, Colchester Natural History Society, Myland Community Council and Essex Bridleways Association, with support from Cycle Colchester.
New and improved maps of the Colchester Orbital are being created and will be available to download soon.
To ensure the walk is suitable for people of all most ages and abilities, including chair users with support as necessary, the partners involved in the project are currently checking the potential barriers on the route that may prevent it being accessible for all.
Colchester Borough Council is also looking at potentially adding more greenery to the orbital route, as part of the Colchester Woodland Project. It is hoped areas will be identified for new tree planting where appropriate, and the creation of new wildlife habitats.
Cllr Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: “By mapping and promoting this key pathway we hope more and more people will be encouraged to use the Colchester Orbital rather than taking to their cars – not only benefiting the environment, but also helping to enhance people’s health.
“It links the borough’s most beautiful and important open spaces and strengthens walking links between Colchester town, its suburbs and surrounding villages.”
Cllr David King, Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, added: “The orbital route is a key part of the Colchester Woodland Project. The route connects some of our wonderful green spaces helping to create a green corridor around the town, whilst also enabling us to identify further opportunities to create new habitats and plant trees – which all helps in our fight against climate change and helps us to continue to grow a Better Colchester.”
Anyone wanting more information about the Colchester Orbital can visit walkcolchester.org.uk/the-colchester-orbital.