They will use share to develop a new Active Travel Plan

Northumberland National Park Authority has been awarded a share of a £1m funds to support the development of walking and cycling routes in the park. 

The funding from Active Travel England will enable the National Park Authorities to develop plans for better links between rural towns and villages, with an aim of unlocking better transport choice for people living in and visiting rural areas in the parks. 

Northumberland National Park Authority’s share of funding amounts to £100,000. With this sum the Park plans to commission a new Active Travel Plan that will help the Authority and partners develop better active travel experiences into different areas of the National Park from four gateway towns on the edges of the park. 

The towns are: 

  • Wooler to access the Cheviot Hills 
  • Rothbury for Coquetdale 
  • Bellingham for the North Tyne/Redesdale, and 
  • Haltwhistle for Hadrian’s Wall 

Northumberland National Park’s Active Travel Plan will include an audit of existing routes including road and off-road options that connect each market town with their accompanying destination area of the National Park. 

The plan will engage with local communities to determine which routes should be developed into safer and more accessible routes into Northumberland National Park, culminating in a costed- scheme of improvements and enhancements for the next stage of investment. To deliver the plan, The National Park will be working closely with Northumberland County Council and other stakeholders to deliver the plan. 

The National Park will build a monitoring network to record the number of visitors traveling into the Park on foot or bicycle, so that they are informed of future changes to how people access the Park.  

Duncan Wise, Tourism and Visitor Development Officer, Northumberland National Park said: 

“We are delighted to receive this funding that will enhance walking and cycling options for thousands of people living in and visiting our beautiful National Park. This funding will significantly contribute to achieving our goals to making the Park more accessible to more and different people while promoting public health and well-being, as well as facilitating sustainable travel to reduce carbon emissions.” 

Currently 9 in 10 journeys to UK National Parks are made in a car. Active Travel England hope that the funding will allow authorities to develop a pipeline of projects for future investments, with a focus on inclusive routes that connect schools, employment, and leisure sites with local communities. Better walking and cycling routes will bring health, environmental and cost benefits to residents and the more than 90 million people who visit National Parks each year. 

Roads Minister, and MP for Hexham, Guy Opperman, said: 

“We’re committed to ensuring people can travel in the way that works best for them, which is why we’re investing over £100 million for over 100 kilometres of new walking and cycling routes, improved access to our national parks, and e-cycle loan schemes. 

This funding is not just an investment in new infrastructure, but in communities that will benefit from the social mobility and health benefits that improved and new walking and cycling routes will bring.” 

Active Travel England is the government’s executive agency responsible for making walking, wheeling and cycling the preferred choice for everyone to get around in England. 

ATE is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Transport.