Proposed park gains pathway funding

Simon Donohue

Funding has been secured for more than a mile of pathways within the proposed Countess of Chester Country Park.

Natural England's Paths For Communities fund is providing £144,590 to the organisations working to create the park.

They are The Land Trust, the park's co-owner with the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Property Services and Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and their partners Cheshire West & Chester Council and Groundwork Cheshire.

The paths will link to existing rural public footpaths and cycle ways, providing residents of the Upton, Newton and Blacon districts of Chester and outlying villages such as Mollington and Saughall convenient access to natural green space.

A new path will connect the main path with the Shropshire Union Canal towpath, which is already a designated regional and city cycle way. Patients, visitors and staff at the Countess of Chester Health Park will also enjoy doorstep access to the country park, which will provide relief and relaxation from busy surroundings and an opportunity to be active.

Sarah Palgrave-Neath, The Land Trust's estate manager, said: "Securing the funding is great news, as it means we will soon be able to open up a route through the country park that will give local people much-needed access to natural green space to the north of Chester.

"We are very grateful to Natural England as the new paths will soon be giving hundreds of people access to the country park.

"We hope that the park will provide a natural venue for a wide range of activities, including walking, running and cycling, as well as various healthier lifestyle initiatives, environmental education, landscape conservation volunteering, community events and food growing."

Work on the paths will start soon and is expected to be completed by the end of February 2014, with the country park due to open officially in late May.

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