Cycling UK is to create a new long distance off-road cycling route in Cornwall, which will be ready for the public to ride from September.
Called the West Kernow Way, the 150-mile route will begin and ends in Penzance and is designed to be ridden over three to four days. The charity has been working for over a year on developing the route, speaking with landowners while plotting and recceing a route using bridleways, byways and quiet stretches of country roads.
Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer behind the creation of the West Kernow Way, said: “With the West Kernow Way, Cycling UK wants to create an experience for the visiting cyclist. The landscape has so much to offer, from the natural beauty of Lizard Point to the wilds of the north coast, but we want to dive into the culture and history of Cornwall too.
“The benefit of cycling off-road along the West Kernow Way is that you will steer clear of the crowds, and be able to visit the sites and find the hidden gems of Cornwall, all without filling the lanes with another car. There’s no doubt about it, it will be a challenging ride – but that’s even more of an excuse to tuck into the excellent Cornish cuisine!”
Conscious of the popularity Cornwall will have over the school holidays, Cycling UK said it intends to launch the route with a guidebook and website as the summer rush on the county draws to a close.
“Cornwall’s climate makes it attractive for cycle touring and bikepacking outside of the traditional peak summer months,” said Gordon. “Cycling UK’s intention with our new route is to give people a reason to visit the county when it’s less busy.
“Not only is that a good opportunity to avoid the crowds and limit risk of infection, but it can also help encourage a more sustainable tourism programme which is year-round rather than concentrated in one peak period.”
Cycle tourism spending from cyclists in the UK generates £520 million per year. There are 1.23 million overnight trips each year, benefiting small businesses in particular, and these contribute £433 million to the economy.
Cycling UK, as one of 14 partners on the EU funded Experience pilot project, is working to deliver sustainable new off-season tourism experiences in six pilot regions in England and France, which includes Cornwall, Norfolk and Kent.
Over the next two years, Cycling UK intends to launch routes in Norfolk and Kent. The charity is already working with the hospitality and accommodation sectors in these three counties to provide businesses with free equipment and advice as part of its Cycle Friendly Places initiative.