The Hastings Greenway Project is an innovative network of linked almost traffic-free routes that everyone can enjoy for leisure, amenity and utility walking, as well as cycling and the group behind the project is organising a walk on Saturday to spread the word.
Starting at 2pm on Saturday the Hastings Greenway Group is encouraging people to come along and walk a route starting from Sandown School on The Ridge then walking via Victoria Avenue, Speckled Wood, Frederick Road then Deepdene Gardens and Waterside Close to Broomgrove and back through the woodland below Chiltern Drive to the old power station site that is now in the hands of the Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust.
But what is a Greenway? According to the Hastings Greenway Group it is more than just an off road route for cyclists, walkers and people with disability scooters. Greenways are largely car-free, off-road routes connecting people to facilities, open spaces and countryside within and around towns. They are for shared use by walkers and cyclists and can be used by people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Fully developed Greenways often include amenities such as seating, planted areas and public art and may create a linear park effect or utilise an existing park. Greenways create safe and direct routes in attractive settings. They provide a sustainable, environmentally friendly travel option for utility (getting to work, education or shopping) and for leisure and health purposes.
The draft Hastings Local Plan includes a network of proposed cycle routes that mostly follow the alignment of the Greenway route and a cycle and walking strategy is currently being drawn up by East Sussex County Council and Hastings Borough Council with HUB and Ramblers involvement. Currently there are a number of plans to connect Hastings, St Leonards and Ore to each other using greenway links.
Ultimately the Hastings greenway will start in Hastings Town Centre and run for ten miles to Ore, Silverhill, Hollington and Mayfield and the Conquest Hospital.
The group’s website http://hastingsgreenway.org/index.html explains: “Unlike conventional greenspace or parks, which tend to be scattered and isolated within the existing urban fabric, Greenways are linear and connective with an emphasis on safe walking and cycling. A unique selling point is that greenways aim to bring the park to the people, rather than people to the park.
“The best greenways are also interactive, rather than passive, meaning they are multi-functional greenspaces; able to support a wide range of local and civic needs including connectivity, sustainability, amenity recreation, health and wellbeing.
“The Hastings Greenway project aims to create a contemporary urban greenway within the town existing fabric with minimum disruption and acceptable cost.