Shocked and saddened by  article on Primrose Trail

I was saddened and dismayed by the negative front page headline, and page three article (see right), in last month’s paper suggesting that the campaign for the long awaited Primrose Trail May have come to an end.

I am a keen walker as well as a cyclist and, whilst walkers have an abundance of paths at their disposal, cyclists have literally nowhere safe in the South Hams. The main roads are a no-go, and even the back lanes are increasingly busy and unsafe.  

Why do those who vociferously campaign against the Primrose Trail plans suggest that the trail will have 4m-wide tarmac? …. they’re scaremongering!   The photo accompanying the article shows about 1.5m of cinder. Why do they suggest that it is cyclists who spread litter?  I think they have little experience of these fabulous multi-use trails.

When I go cycling on these trails, often with my grandchildren, our experience is very different. We never drop litter. We are acutely aware that this is shared space and that we all should act accordingly and be considerate of each other, slowing down when passing others.  (Yes, our speed is more than walking pace, but we never use a trail as a race track!). Walkers are grateful that we use our bells and actually thank us. We tend to greet and sometimes stop and chat, with perfect strangers, because this shared use of public space brings out a community spirit in people which is a pleasure to enjoy

If, as a community, we wish to benefit from such a trail then dialogue is important, so that all views can be aired, and a route can be found which will complement the natural environment and give access to everyone.  A secondary benefit, of course, is the economic spin-off for towns and villages near the trail.   I’m thinking of places such as Moretonhampstead, and Yelverton on the Wray valley & Plym trails, where cafes & village shops benefit hugely and are thriving as a result of a few extra visitors.

“Why is it that a community finds it so difficult to share?   All users …. whether dog walkers, walkers without dogs, joggers, cyclists, horse riders, as well as those less mobile, and reliant on an even surface …. ALL should have equal shared access to trails”

Anne Lukehurst