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Clyst Valley Trail frequently asked questions

Will the Clyst Valley Trail be suitable for users of mobility scooters or wheelchairs?

The Clyst Valley Trail will be designed in accordance with the latest Department for Transport Cycle Infrastructure Design Guidance LTN1/20. This design is inclusive and accessible to all users, including mobility scooter users and wheelchair users.

What are the expected user numbers for the trail?

It is expected that the trail will be used for commuting and recreation. The data report provides a breakdown on predicted user numbers.

What will happen to public footpaths which overlap with the route of the trail?

Where we are able to provide a 2m grass strip this is predominantly for ramblers and horse riders to use however, we are not looking to segregate walkers and cyclists as such.

Our aim is to give all users the best possible experience, providing where possible a 2m wide grass verge for ramblers and horse riders alongside a 3m wide surfaced trail for walkers, cyclists and mobility vehicles. Where the route impacts on existing public footpaths, the aim will be to upgrade the footpath to a 5m wide bridleway however, where we cannot gain agreement from landowners, and/or where costs are prohibitive, the public footpath will become part of a surfaced trail with a minimum width of 3m, upgraded to a bridleway. Where there is no grass verge the surface type will accommodate all users, including horses (where appropriate).

As a large majority of the route will be a shared space it is envisaged that the route will operate in the same way as the Exe Estuary Trail where there is no form of segregation and users are made aware that this is a multi-use facility via signing and lining to avoid conflict.

Can the trail be located closer to the River Clyst?

The flood risk assessment and future maintenance costs require that the trail is located outside of flood zones wherever possible. This is particularly important along the tidal stretches of the river, to allow for sea level rise as the climate changes. We also need to avoid impacts on wildlife that is sensitive to human disturbance, such as wetland birds and otters.

How will you achieve a minimum 20% net gain for biodiversity?

As each section goes through the planning process, an ecological assessment will be conducted, including the use of the Biodiversity Net Gain Metric version 3.2 from Defra/Natural England. The main biodiversity features likely to be affected by the trail are trees and hedges. We will aim to avoid them, but where this is not possible, impact will be minimised, for example by using permeable surfacing materials in the root zone of trees. Our aim is to plant many new locally native, non-thorny trees and shrubs along the trail, and create herb-rich verges. In addition, there are opportunities to create new ponds by piping water from the surrounding landscape. We will consult the Environment Agency on any works that require their consent.

What type of fencing will be used along the trail?

Boundary treatments are proposed alongside the trail to increase safety and privacy and reduce the likelihood of trespass onto adjacent land. This will mainly take the form of timber post and rail fencing, suitably stock-proofed. In some sections Devon hedge banks could be created. Alternative boundary treatments will be considered in consultation with landowners to ensure bespoke arrangements are included where necessary and appropriate.

Will the trail be lit?

Where the Trail passes through rural areas, it will not be lit. This is to ensure that wildlife, particularly bats, are not impacted, and that the quality of the landscape is maintained. However, in urban areas the Trail will be lit if the existing or proposed street lighting is insufficient to ensure the actual or perceived safety of users.

What are the next steps for the Clyst Valley Trail and when will it be completed?

Following the close of the public consultation, the responses received will be reviewed. We will then refine the design and seek approval to progress the scheme from Devon County Council’s Cabinet and East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. Once approval is secured, detailed design work and land negotiation can commence as well as the ecological and environmental consultations. Planning applications will be submitted for each of the sections. Once planning permission is secured, suitable funding opportunities will be sought. Without planning permission, the route does not have a strong case for securing external funding from competitive bids. Timescales for delivery will be subject to securing suitable levels of funding.