Written by: Peter Bate
Objectives were to:
- Sign the circular routes that branch off the core Greensand Cycleway
- Improve the route guides for those routes including GPX files for downloading
- Research & produce a leaflet about cycling heritage in the area
- Lead rides on the signed routes
The first three objectives have been achieved. Led rides had to be stopped due to Covid 19.
Benefits to People
The project benefits anyone with a bike in the project area and just beyond it, as it provides easy to follow routes with guides which provide information about the area.
I’m not sure if it did encourage groups traditionally excluded from heritage to engage but cycling is a very broad and inclusive activity. The route guides give equal but distinct emphasis to the route information and the natural, physical & human heritage so people can read it if they wish.
I’ve learned much more about the area despite having lived here since 1986.
Benefits to Heritage & Landscape
The routes encourage people to get into the countryside and the route guides provide details of natural, physical and human heritage linked to the route map.
People value what they see & know about. Encouraging people to venture into the surrounding landscape is likely to lead to them valuing it.
The cycle routes are more usable as they are signed. The route guides are better as they are more up to date and include heritage panels. The published cycling heritage research has previously focused on Dan Albone of Biggleswade which has missed wider & later aspects.
All these things encourage people to explore.
Challenges & Lessons Learnt
Lack of suitable volunteers. We did have two very good volunteers who did good work in a reliable manner. We did make extensive efforts to recruit more but for reasons which are not clear this particular project did not attract them.
The solution was to do some of the work myself and the signing was incorporated into the wider LEADER funded signing project for all the way-marked routes which had sufficient funds to use better sign technology and contractors to install.
Do not rely on volunteers for key elements. Narrow the scope of the project e.g. to just a few of the routes. Resist functional creep more robustly.