A new, 3km cycle route has been completed, linking Pagham Nature Reserve with Medmerry Nature Reserve, boosting facilities for residents, visitors and wildlife enthusiasts alike.
The county council’s Public Rights of Way team worked with The Manhood Peninsula Partnership on ideas to bolster tourism in the area – and found that cycling provision was under represented. From this, a £400,000 scheme was devised. It includes:
• 1.2Km of shared pedestrian/cycling pathway
• re-construction/improvement on cycle route 88
• 1.7Km of improvements to the path between the new route and flood defences at Selsey.
The council’s Project Manager, Thomas Collins, said: “The project has been receiving positive feedback from Sustrans as well as from visitors to the RSPB nature reserve.
“A key aim for the project was to reinforce the ‘sense of place’ in the area, enabling the Manhood Peninsula to become even better known as somewhere with wonderful scenery and impressive wildlife that is readily accessible to visitors.”
Deborah Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The route’s opening is great news for cyclists, pedestrians and bird watchers alike.
“This sustainable transport scheme opens up access to the Medmerry Nature Reserve and provides further links in to the Manhood Peninsula for cyclists and pedestrians.”
The contractor for the scheme was Balfour Beatty Living Places. Lloyd Allen, Principal Operations Manager for Balfour Beatty, West Sussex, said: “We are delighted to successfully hand over the new cycle route in West Sussex to the council.
“The scheme will significantly benefit the local community and visitors alike, improving access to the Medmerry nature reserve while providing a sustainable transport scheme for residents, visitors and wildlife enthusiasts.”
Welcoming the new facility, Steve Webster, Site Manager at the RSPB’s Pagham Harbour and Medmerry Reserves, said: “The RSPB is thrilled with the construction of the new cycle link between the Pagham Harbour and Medmerry nature reserves.
“Working in collaboration with West Sussex County Council and other partners, this route provides opportunities for local residents, holiday-makers and visitors to the reserves to get around more easily – taking in the views, getting exercise and of course, seeing the wildlife.”
Carolyn Cobbold, project leader for the Manhood Peninsula Partnership, said: “Linking Pagham to Medmerry with a new cycle path is a great addition to the growing network of cycle routes in Chichester district.
“The peninsula, in particular, is a wonderful place for recreational cycling and the Manhood Peninsula Partnership has been working hard to encourage more cycle paths as part of the coastal area’s valuable tourism product.
“More and more people are discovering that our area is a fabulous destination for a holiday, whatever the time of year, and being able to spend a few days walking or cycling in open countryside rather than having to get in a car is a growing attraction for visitors.”
• West Sussex Highways has provided a total of 5.8km of cycle path in the 2018-2019 financial year (exceeding the 5.75km target). This does not include the Medmerry scheme, which finished after 31 March.
• The Pagham Harbour to Medmerry cycle link has opened in plenty of time before National Bike Week, which starts 8 June.