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New maps of the Colchester Orbital now available!

The Orbital is a nearly 15-mile circular walk and cycle route

Date issued: 12 June 2020

New and improved downloadable maps of the Colchester Orbital have been created and are now available at www.colchester.gov.uk/better-colchester/colchester-orbital.

The picturesque Colchester Orbital is a nearly 15-mile circular walk and cycle route around the edge of the town that connects a network of footpaths, cycle paths and green spaces to make an idyllic way for people to enjoy the countryside.

With restrictions on daily exercise lifted, residents are encouraged to use these new maps to come along and discover the Orbital route on foot or by bike.

The Colchester Orbital route was officially launched in 2018 under the Walk Colchester initiative – part of the Jane’s Walk programme, an international initiative of local walks led by local people on local themes and 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, Essex Local Access Forum, Colchester Ramblers, Colchester Natural History Society, Myland Community Council and Essex Bridleways Association with support from Cycle Colchester.

Colchester Borough Council is looking at adding more greenery to the orbital route as part of the Colchester Woodland Project. It hopes to be able to find areas for new tree planting and the creation of new wildlife habitats. The Colchester Woodland Project was launched in 2019, when the council announced it would plant 200,000 trees across the borough over the next few years as part of the Better Colchester campaign.

The Colchester Woodland Project continues to evolve and over the following years is committed to:

  • Making the borough greener.
  • Planting trees and helping biodiversity to flourish.
  • Managing spaces without harming existing habitats.
  • Enhancing environments to create more space for nature to grow and thrive.
  • Encouraging the community to love and care for the environment, from wildflowers and meadows, to woods and parks.

The project is currently running a #Loveyourtrees campaign on Facebook. Visit @enjoycolchester to get involved. Lots of other initiatives are planned as the project heads towards the second year of planting in November, including seed gathering events and more work to map and promote the Oribital.

Cllr Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said “By mapping 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: “Exercise and connection to nature matter now more than ever before. I urge residents to use the Orbital route. As a key part of the Colchester Woodland Project, it connects many 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. Plus, it’s an opportunity to use the car less, to help in our fight against climate change, and to deliver cleaner air and a better quality of life for all – and that's a much Better Colchester.”

Anyone wanting more information about the Colchester Orbital can visit walkcolchester.org.uk/the-colchester-orbital.

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