Exclusive by Alan Quick

AN all-purpose cycle-way and footpath between Crediton and Exeter is the aim of the Boniface Trail Association – and the group is fast attracting support.

The association, which comprises local councillors, cycle and walking enthusiasts as well as local residents and organisation representatives, says it is fully committed to establishing a trail that, as well as being suitable for both cyclists and walkers, will also be fully mobility scooter, wheelchair and family friendly.

The association is now appealing to members of the public to complete a simple questionnaire, the results of which, it says, will “greatly assist us in shaping the trail.”

It adds that the input of the public will help the group design the trail to be attractive to as many people as possible and a high response will also confirm a high demand.

Newton St Cyres Parish Councillor Paul Taylor, chairman of the association, said that the route favoured by the association at present, subject to consultation and feedback from the questionnaire, is to follow, where possible, the A377 from Crediton to Exeter.

He said that thanks must go to fellow Newton St Cyres Parish Councillor Steve Parker, who is behind the proposed route and has been a key figure in the campaign.

He explained that Mr Parker oversees the maintenance of footpaths as a part of his duties as a parish councillor for Newton St Cyres.

Mr Parker said there is a lot of support for the project.

He said that the route between Quicke’s Farm, Newton St Cyres, and the village of Half Moon has been strongly supported in principle by landowners and Steve thanked the owners of Quicke’s, and other landowners, who had worked with the parish council and the group in support for the cycle/footpath.

Mr Parker said he was now speaking with other landowners and assisting the group in pushing forward with the aim of a complete route.

Mr Parker said that the association had, to date, received financial support from Newton St Cyres Parish Council, Upton Pyne Parish Council, Crediton Town Council. Mid Devon District Council (via Councillors John Downes and Nick Way) and Devon County Council (via Cllr Mrs Margaret Squires) are also likely to support small grant applications.

However, he explained that the group would be in need of substantial funds, in the tens of thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds, to achieve the full route.

He said there were many issues involved, not just practical building of the route but also maintenance and legal issues.

He said that the route could possibly go via the new Newton St Cyres Primary School, when constructed. He also said it was the link from Cowley to Exeter, which would provide the biggest challenge, but that the Association was continuing to investigate possible solutions for this part of the route.

Here there are questions about how to cross the river and rail lines, but also noting that if the Dawlish alternative rail line is via Crediton, this could increase usage of the line which would have a bearing on future plans.

Mr Taylor hoped that Tesco shopping bag monies, Landfill funding and Section 106/CIL monies could help the project as well as government funding and further Lottery funding.

Mr Taylor is currently registering the group as a charity with the Charities Commission. He considered this was likely to further enable funding sources to be available.

The Boniface Trail Association is supported by Sustainable Crediton. The group comprises, in addition to Mr Taylor and Mr Parker, Laura Conyngham, Bob Lunnon, Clive Smith (Upton Pyne), Nick Dyer, Nick Way (Mid Devon District and County Councillor), Margaret Squires (County Councillor), John Downes (Mid Devon District Councillor), Sam Robbins and Jane Hole (providing much appreciated administration assistance). Roger Cashmore, a former Newton St Cyres Parish Councillor, was also heavily involved in establishing the group, providing valuable IT assistance.

The simple questionnaire the public is asked to complete, and circulate to friends, may be completed on-line or a paper version can be downloaded.

The questionnaire can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/bonifacetrailcampaign/ .

• What do you think of plans for a cycle-way and footpath from Crediton to Exeter? Share your views with fellow “Courier” readers. Write a letter, suitable for publication, to: The Editorial Manager, “Crediton Courier”, 102 High Street, Crediton EX17 3LF or email: [email protected] .