Stepping out around Sidmouth

The River Sid. Picture: Ed Dolphin

The River Sid. Picture: Ed Dolphin - Credit: Archant

A new walking route could soon be created around Sidmouth.

Salcombe Hill. Picture: Ed Dolphin

Salcombe Hill. Picture: Ed Dolphin - Credit: Archant

Plans for a new 13-mile signed footpath around the Sid Valley are moving forward.

The proposals is a joint venture, funded by the Sid Vale Association and Sidmouth Town Council, and supported by the Chamber of Commerce.

Whilst the internet has many suggested walking routes in and around Sidmouth, it is felt that an easy to follow, and definitive, signed walk will be much more accessible, and popular with both visitors and residents.

The intention is to make the walk, which is provisionally called the Sid Valley Ring, as attractive as possible to users, and to showcase all that is best about the town and its environs.

Core Hill. Picture: Carolyn Trussell.

Core Hill. Picture: Carolyn Trussell. - Credit: Archant

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The precise route is not yet established, but it is expected to be around 13 miles in length, and will visit Sidbury, Harcombe and Salcombe Regis, as well as Sidmouth itself.

A link via The Byes will allow the walk to be conducted in two sections, if 13 miles seems a bit daunting for some.

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A preliminary survey has been conducted, and it is hoped to deliver the project within twelve months or so.

The signed walk is seen as a long term project that will improve Sidmouth’s tourism offer, and provide wider health and amenity benefits to the community.

A spokesman for the committee commented: “The parish of Sidmouth has a dense network of public footpaths, so designing the route is challenging, simply because there are so many options to choose from.

“As well as the superb scenery of our area, there will also be the opportunity to highlight many of our listed buildings, and specimen trees; and to acquaint locals and visitors alike with snippets of local history.’

Diana East, of the Sidmouth Arboretum, said: “Sidmouth Arboretum has for many years promoted walking through our Tree Trail leaflets. Our project of labelling selected trees, already begun in various town locations, will be extended to cover selected trees on our Tree Trails.

“The Ring project will enhance existing trails, including the East Devon Way , by making it easier to explore new places and find out more about the wonderful environment of the Sid valley.”

Walking is by far the most popular activity amongst visitors to the South West, according to figures from South West Tourism. Thirty-seven per cent of tourists to the region cite walking as the prime activity of their holiday, with beaches and shopping trailing well behind with 16 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

In recent years, Sidmouth has signed up to the ‘Walkers Are Welcome’ organisation and has promoted the increasingly successful and well-supported Walking Festival every September.

These initiatives, together with the impressive work of the volunteer-based Parish Paths Partnership (P3), have gradually turned Sidmouth into a respected and popular walking destination.

It is hoped that the creation of the Sid Valley Ring will further encourage the enjoyment of our wonderful footpath network by both residents and holiday-makers.’

To read more features from East Devon Resident, click here.

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