The Colchester Orbital project has received a £28,000 boost, thanks to Colchester Borough Council's Better Colchester campaign.
Rowena Macaulay, of Walk Colchester, a member of the community-based coalition Colchester Green Links and Open Spaces who are behind the project, has spent the past few years identifying and mapping over 14-miles of circular walks and cycle routes around the outskirts of Colchester. The ‘Colchester Orbital’ route links Colchester’s most important green spaces and will connect to heritage points of interest.
The funding is made up of £20,000 from the ‘Better Colchester’ spending priorities budget and £8,000 from ‘Best Foot Forward’ Legacy funding. This budget will enable the start made by volunteers to be turned into a readily accessible, community-wide resource through digital mapping, signage and a start on removing the physical obstacles to access.
Cllr David King, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “The Colchester Orbital is a project I am passionate about and proud to be supporting. We need to connect rural and town much better than we do, not by car, but by foot and bike. Our personal and community health benefits from fresh air and by accessing the many green spaces we have.
“The Orbital will be good for residents and visitors and will encourage us all to get out and explore the countryside. Our Better Colchester campaign is all about celebrating Colchester and encouraging people to enjoy healthier lives. The Orbital is another example of renewal in Colchester and our commitment to improving life across the borough.”
Welcoming the extra funding and support from Myland Community Council, who will pilot more detailed community mapping, Cllr King, added: “Colchester is a growing and changing town. We need to make it easier for new residents, as well as those more familiar with their parish, to connect with local clubs, organisations and facilities, to help them access services and to play their part in our many local communities.”
Rowena Macaulay, of Walk Colchester, said: “We’re really happy that this project has captured the imaginations of so many people and now resulted in this significant Colchester Borough Council funding support. We set out to create a route that celebrated all that is special about Colchester’s varied green landscape and biodiversity; one that encourages people to enjoy it in new ways and hopefully protect it longer-term. It was always important to us that the project be something of real longevity for the town, so it is exciting to finally be in a position to secure its immediate future”.
The Colchester Orbital will also expand the walking horizons of mobility restricted users, whilst strengthening car-free routes between Colchester, its suburbs and nearby villages.