ACE - Accessible Countryside for Everyone
At Dunster in Somerset, Ellington Dene in Northumberland and Oxshott in Surrey, we are funding improvements to pathways and opening up access to thecountryside for local people and visitors.
As managers of one of the largest rural land portfolios in the UK, The Crown Estate recognises the importance of making the countryside accessible for everyone.
We hope that by supporting local groups and volunteers through our stewardship programme we can help improve access to public paths on our holdings and enable more local people to enjoy and value the green spaces near them.”Andy Wells, Head of Countryside Management at The Crown Estate
At Ellington Dene, The Crown Estate has partnered with Groundwork North East & Cumbria and local volunteers to upgrade surfaces and widen paths, improving access for those using wheelchairs or mobility scooters, parents with buggies and people with mobility impairments. We are also raising paths and improving drainage, so people can continue to enjoy walks through our rural portfolio during the wetter months.
Teams of local volunteers play a vital role, removing vegetation, pruning overhanging branches and clearing paths for workers to come with machines. The Crown Estate is funding materials and contractors. Groundwork North East & Cumbria and the Cresswell, Ellington, Linton & Lynemouth (CELL) Big Local environment group are coordinating the volunteers and leading the project.
Andy Wells, Head of Countryside Management at The Crown Estate, said: “As active land managers, we see the protection and enhancement of the environment as a core part of our duty to maintain and enhance the value of the estate and the revenue generated from it. We hope that by supporting local groups and volunteers through our stewardship programme we can help improve access to public paths on our holdings and enable more local people to enjoy and value the green spaces near them.”
Our first stretch of improved pathway opened in September 2015, running from Lynemouth to Ellington, all the way through the Dene. The next phase of works to upgrade pathways for people with disabilities is due to complete in spring 2016, focusing on the route from Jack’s Lane across the footbridge. As well as improving the path and drainage, removing fly tipping and installing barriers for motorbikes, the team is creating a new path to reduce the steepness of the existing access and introducing a small terrace for seating and an interpretation board.
Other works include the installation of all-abilities gates at Oxshott and an all-abilities trail at Dunster. The trail at Dunster allows access for visitors to see the tallest tree in England, a Douglas-fir just over 60m tall, planted in the 1870s.