Posted: 20.01.21 at 11:06 by Derek Davis
A number of walks and cycling trails on the Shotley peninsula have been included as part of the 2020 Discovering Suffolk project launched this week.
The Two Rivers walk, taking in miles of paths along the Orwell and Stour, the Cycle Explorer guide featuring Alton Water and Pin Mill and the Stour Valley path from near Brantham, are among the county's best routes.
Shotley was the first village in Suffolk to be awarded the nationally recognised Walkers Are Welcome accreditation after Shotley Open Spaces put together a series of health walks and way-marked routes, including the Arthur Ransome Trail from Pin Mill to the Bristol Arms.
The aim of the Discover Suffolk project is to raise further awareness of the range of great walking routes, areas of interest and variety of landscapes that form Suffolk’s beautiful countryside through public rights of way and points of access.
Given the experiences many people have faced over the last year living through the pandemic, it is recognised that exercise and wellbeing is a fundamental element in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and whilst we continue to live within Government guidelines at present, Suffolk’s countryside offers a freely accessible means for many of us to experience nature and stay healthy.
The key element of the Discovering Suffolk project is the development of a smartphone app alongside a range of supporting QR codes fixed to rights of way signposts located along different routes to promote walking, cycling and exploring Suffolk’s countryside.
Discovering Suffolk builds on our changing behaviours when visiting the countryside, as people become ever more interested in local exploration and taking short walks and cycling exercises during the pandemic.
The project will continue to promote the Discover Suffolk website as new content, information and advice continues to be added to the current offer, promoting walking routes and cycle rides through local communities.
The project seeks to actively engage new audiences who are not aware of the options available on their doorstep or have perhaps only begun to explore the local countryside beyond their neighbourhood.
Work will shortly start on developing the Discovering Suffolk App and setting the sites for the QR code points around the county. After development, the new, free App will provide access to the full range of Discover Suffolk outdoor guides with over 100 walks across the county.
The App and QR codes will include audio, video, imagery and fun activities to further enhance people’s enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of Suffolk’s natural and built environment.
Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said: “As part of our investment this year through the Suffolk 2020 fund, we wanted to find new ways to support and encourage access to our beautiful Suffolk countryside, particularly amongst residents and communities who may have not considered local walks, cycling or exploring public rights of way, close to where they live.
"I believe this new smartphone App will provide an accessible platform for people to find out what’s available and where they can begin to enjoy healthy walks, peaceful spaces and explore nature.
“During these challenging times, we all need to continue to abide by the Government’s latest guidance relating to exercising safely within our local communities, keeping to social distancing rules and protecting families and friends.
"As part of this we can all find ways to enjoy the natural environment and countryside that surrounds us by considering the impact we have on the environment and considering others.
"At the moment this means staying local to where we live, but in time as the situation improves, there will be greater opportunity to explore further, as long as we continue to adhere to the guidelines in the short term.”
Further information on the range of local walks, trails and areas to explore throughout Suffolk can be found at www.discoversuffolk.org.uk/ where more and more information and advice will be added as the project continues to grow and develop.