National Cycle Network

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It seems to be stating the obvious but cycling is good for both you and the environment. It is great non-impact exercise, can be a good alternative to running and it is particularly good when rehabilitating, or just starting to exercise. For those calorie counters 20 minutes of cycling can burn of 100 calories, but perhaps more importantly works on the lower abdominals.

For these reasons it is refreshing to read of the funding that is being provided to develop the national cycle infrastructure. Already over £9.5 million has been spent completing 80% of the National Cycle Network, which is 1219 mile out of the total 1530 miles. The network has already secured financial backing of and additional £4 million a year over 2006 to 2008 to complete the development.

It is always nice to see the results of such funding, and when results are local they are particularly satisfying. Commuting on the Exmouth to Exeter train line daily, I have witnessed the development of the proposed cycle path that will eventually run along both the East and West sides of the Exe estuary, and join the national cycle network in Exeter.

The West side development is an extension of existing network at Bridge Road in Exeter via Turf Lock, Powderham Church, Starcoss and Cockwood will join cycle routes in Dawlish Warren. This will then be developed through to Dawlish. The west side development will be built in stages with proposed completion in 2009.

The East side development will connect Exmouth to Exeter via Lympstone, Exton, Topsham, where it will the join the cycle network within Exeter. The development of the Exmouth to Lympstone section is almost complete, and is due to be opened by the autumn this year. The Lymstone to Exton section will then be built by autumn 2008, and The Exton to Topsham part by the same deadline in 2009.

I think the completed route will provide a great scenic cycle route around the estuary which will undoubtedly be a popular year round tourist attraction. It will also provide a great way of travelling from Exmouth to Exeter, beating the increasingly hectic rush hour traffic. It should take no longer than 40 minutes to commute by bike, quicker than car, cheaper than the train, and better for yourself and the environment. You can also kiss good bye to the parking charges that are required when you can find a place in the City!


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