The further development, launch and marketing of the long-distance walking and horse-riding trail known as the Coleridge Way in West Somerset. Working with local businesses, principally B&Bs, cafes, restaurants, public houses and shops jointly to maximise the tourism potential.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Launched in April 2005, the Coleridge Way walking route stretches 36 miles from Nether Stowey, in the Quantock Hills to Porlock in Exmoor National Park on the West Somerset Coast. It celebrates the landscape that inspired the works of one of England’s most well know poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge who wrote several of his most famous poems while living in Nether Stowey.
The aims of the Coleridge Way are:
- To sustain and increase economic benefits to businesses in the area;
- To create new business opportunities;
- To promote active recreation in the natural environment; and
- To increase awareness of the cultural heritage of this part of Somerset.
The Coleridge Way continues to go from strength to strength. The route is now fully waymarked with a distinctive quill logo, new information packs have been produced and a new dedicated Coleridge Way website has been launched www.coleridgeway.co.uk
Walkers from all over Britain are being attracted to visit the area and walk the route over 3 or 4 days, staying in accommodation along the route and enjoying local hospitality and produce. It has featured on BBC TV’s Countryfile and BBC local news. The aim of attracting more visitors to this less-visited area of Exmoor, and without their cars, is certainly working.
Visitors comments include: ‘a real treasure of a walk, the best of its kind we have been on’; ‘I now understand why Coleridge was inspired to write his poetry – Somerset is such a beautiful part of England’; ‘You want to see England – then you must do this’.
Businesses along the route are receiving significant benefit from walkers enjoying the new route, in particular the small rural village pubs and B&Bs on the Brendon Hills. Two thirds of accommodation providers in the small villages interviewed at the end of the 2006 season, have had repeat visitors as a direct result of the Coleridge Way. Several of these have experienced a significant increase in visitors last year as a direct result of the Coleridge Way.
May 2007 saw the launch of The Coleridge Bridle Way giving horse riders a new challenging promoted horse riding route between Nether Stowey and Exford .The 33 miles route will for the first time link two popular horse riding areas, the Quantock Hills and Exmoor.
The route includes over 4 miles of new bridleways, mainly across the Brendon Hills. There will be opportunities to stay in horse friendly accommodation and to extend visitor stays by linking into other published circular horse riding routes. Already local farms and equine businesses are showing considerable interest in the route, providing yet another boost to the local economy and building on the continuing success of The Coleridge Way walking route.