North Walsham

Major investment set to boost Paston and Weavers Way in North East Norfolk

Just Regional
Jul 19, 2013 5 mins read

Norfolk County Council has secured thousands of pounds of European Regional Development funding to help develop the Norfolk Trails network of footpaths in the North East of the county in a bid to boost rural tourism and the local economy. 
The £222,544 of funding has been allocated to Norfolk under an Anglo-English cross-border co-operation programme called “Cool Tourism”. Norfolk County Council will be matching the funding with the equivalent of £244,000 and the three year project will involve:

*Work to upgrade the infrastructure of the Paston Way and Weavers Way to bring them up to the presitigious National Trails standards.

*Promotion of the environmental, heritage and cultural attractions in the corridors along these footpaths to encourage more people to visit the inland coastal area between Cromer and Great Yarmouth.

*Building business networks and providing training, ICT and marketing support for local companies that provide services for residents and visitors along the footpath routes.

David Harrison, Cabinet Member for Environment at Norfolk County Council, said: “Securing this substantial amount of cash to develop and promote our countryside is excellent news for Norfolk residents and businesses.

“To date, we have pinned down a total of £360,500 of external funding* for the Norfolk Trails. That significantly boosts our existing resources and makes Norfolk council taxpayers’ money go much further when it comes to developing this unique environmental and economic asset for our county.

“The Cool Tourism project gives us the opportunity to put the Norfolk Trails even more firmly on the map as part of Norfolk’s overall tourism offer. It will also help the County Council’s vital work to nurture our distinctive rural economy by helping businesses benefit from the development of these important walking routes and the areas around them.”

In addition to Norfolk, funding has also been granted to Kent, Essex, Somerset and the Somme region in France and the project is being led by Pas de Calais in France.

All of these rural areas will work together to promote their distinctive environments, culture and heritage to residents and visitors as unique destinations.

Explaining the Cool Tourism project, John Jones, Norfolk County Council’s Environment Development Manager said: “This project is about using the environment as an asset to promote rural tourism, unlocking the potential of rural destinations and helping the Transmanche region to compete effectively in the global tourism market.

“From Norfolk’s point of view it will help us work more closely with the tourism sector and Visit Norfolk and support small businesses along the routes to promote the resources on their doorstep and encourage them to take up opportunities for using new technology and ICT.

“We’ll also be collaborating with the programme partners to develop a Cross Channel marketing campaign, picking up on common themes such as wildlife, cultural heritage and food and drink but also promoting local distinctiveness. In Norfolk that could include things like traditional crafts such as weaving, wherries, local food and drink etc.

“All of the areas involved in the Cool Tourism project have common assets – a coastline with a hinterland including beautiful countryside and distinctive environment, heritage and cultural features.

“Norfolk’s particular asset is its substantial network of countryside footpaths – the Norfolk Trails – which link our marvellous countryside with so many of our major settlements. They are a truly unique element of Norfolk’s tourism offer and this project is a fantastic opportunity to promote them to a world-wide audience through a wide number of initiatives.”

Andy Williams, Trails Officer for the Paston Way and Weavers Way said: “The Weavers Way and Paston Way are wonderful assets for the community and visitors alike to enjoy and explore the North East Norfolk countryside.

“This area sits between the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the North Norfolk Coast and the Norfolk Broads – and is a hidden secret with much to offer for everyone both in the summer season and throughout the year.   Cromer, Great Yarmouth and North Walsham have good transport links by bus and rail providing easy access to both routes.”

Diana Hounslow, from the lead project partner Pas-de-Calais said: “Countryside tourism represents six percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product and COOL partners in France and England all have outstandingly beautiful rural areas in which new innovative forms of tourism can be developed.

“Norfolk’s golden opportunity is to make the most of its impressive network of countryside walking routes and use them as a gateway for people to explore the environmental, cultural and historical gems in their hinterlands. This can help drive more customers to local businesses, helping to support vital rural economies and this will create a sustainable rural tourism model that other areas can adapt for their own region.”

Pete Waters of Visit Norfolk said: “This is a great opportunity to spread the message about Norfolk’s diverse and beautiful countryside with so many places to visit and things to do.  The COOL project is a fantastic opportunity to bring our wonderful area to the attention of more holiday-makers from across Europe, to identify new and innovative opportunities for rural tourism that will help our county and its businesses find a new competitive edge.”

 

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