November 4 - Devon today promised to invest £25 million into providing a first-class cycle network in the county over the next few years.


The commitment was made by Devon County Council, who also said that they would look to attract other economic benefits by continuing to host international cycling events, following the success of the Tour Series cycling event in Exeter and two stages of the Tour of Britain in Devon.


But the primary aim of the investment is to make Devon a premier destination for cycling tourism.


A number of major schemes will be funded including the Stop Line Way cycle route in East Devon, the Exe Estuary Trail, the Teign Estuary and the Ruby Way.


Devon was ranked the top county council in the country on satisfaction with cycle routes and local rights of way network in the recent National Highways and Transport Public Satisfaction Survey (NHT Survey).


To build on that success, the county cycling strategy will be developed by the Council to set out ambitions for the next 20 years, running alongside the Local Transport Plan.


The strategy will aim to target investment in future routes to add to the existing 620 miles of dedicated cycling routes, improving cycling routes to schools, rolling out Bikeability cycle training across the county, and completing Devon’s sections of the National Cycle Network to link to all 28 market and coastal towns in the county.


Proposed schemes will provide a new route between Sidmouth and Feniton, a link from Buckfastleigh to Dartington and another into Totnes through Littlehempston.


Abandoned railway lines, estuary routes and off-road routes will be used wherever possible to develop the cycle network.


Stuart Hughes, Devon's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "Since becoming Cabinet member I have had the opportunity to see for myself the great strides that we have made here in Devon to get more people to take up cycling or get back on their bikes, and I am one of those people.


"We know that we are seeing great results and not just in Exeter where 20 per cent of children cycle to school.


"For instance, the Exe Estuary trail is not yet complete, and yet nearly 240,000 people used in the year to September. Just imagine what it will be like once it is completed.


"The benefits of cycling are immense and it has a direct impact on four of the priorities in our emerging Strategic Plan, including supporting local business and tourism and reducing congestion.


"Devon’s economy is already reaping the benefits of the investment we have put into cycling and I know that the Exe Estuary Trail is already seeing those economic benefits through cycle hire, cafes and shops."