Work is under way on the first phase of the Three Rivers Way, an ambitious project to create a safe walking and cycling route joining up villages across the Norfolk Broads.
Ultimately, this will connect Wroxham, Hoveton, Horning, Ludham and Potter Heigham along the same network, opening the area up to locals and visitors alike.
This first phase runs for 3.7km between Hoveton and Horning and is being built primarily along the northern side of the A1062. It will provide improved local travel to school, work and shops, as well as an attractive route for visitors, and should be ready in time for the peak holiday season.
For those arriving by train, car or bus, the route will be supported by cycle hire at Hoveton, Horning and Ludham Bridge, giving access to healthy countryside cycling, including riverside amenities and Bewilderwood, a nationally-recognised tourist attraction. The scheme will open up access to the Norfolk Broads for those without boats and allow visitors and locals to visit areas that are traditionally less accessible.
It is hoped that a safe route will encourage a wider range of people on to bicycles, including families and the active retired. Their spending power will support village outlets, particularly those supplying food and drink. Increased spending in traditional local businesses will also help support the rural economy. The Three Rivers Way will ultimately connect to the Bure Valley Way and the Weavers Way in the Norfolk Trails network.
Nigel Dixon, county councillor for Hoveton and Stalham, said it was an important step forward in improving sustainable transport options in the area: “Proposals have been adjusted to address some local concerns, but I hope that working together we will be able to deliver an acceptable scheme that will benefit the wider community and tourism sector, helping attract more visitors to the area. This is the first significant step in eventually linking Hoveton to Potter Heigham.”
Peter Howe, Chairman of the Three Rivers Way Association, said: “This is a fantastic day for the Three Rivers Way Association and for the area. We have been working on this project for around eight years, so it is wonderful to see building work taking place at last. It’s a much-needed improvement that will allow people to get out into the countryside.”