A project to improve Horsham’s Riverside Walk is set to bid for a £380,000 lottery grant to establish the route as a ‘legacy for future generations’.
The Horsham Town Community Partnership completed the first phase of improvements to the 13-mile walk around the town last year, which saw new signage, the installation of benches, and the production of an informative route map leaflet.
This was funded by a £37,000 grant from Biffa Award and a further 10 per cent from Horsham District Council. An event saw several hundred walkers take part in a celebration walk around the route last July.
Now the HTCP is hoping to secure a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the second phase of the project, and will be making an application later this year.
The project team is consulting West Sussex County Council, HDC, and many community organisations throughout the town, including schools and youth groups, to gain further support.
They also want to find out how the walk is currently used and are asking groups for their thoughts on what would make their use more enjoyable, especially with regard to history, heritage, health, wellbeing, and the protection of natural habitats.
These improvements, however, will be sure to retain the important rural aspect of the Riverside WalkJane Apostolou, chair Horsham Town Community Partnership
Suggestions have included the possibility of incorporate cycling routes to some sections of the walk and enable links to existing routes.
Jane Apostolou, chair of the HTCP, said: “The second phase is to be an application, this year, to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £380,000 in order to establish the walk as a local feature making a lasting difference for heritage, individuals and the community.
“Horsham has a number of heritage sites close to the Riverside Walk route. By upgrading some lengths of the walking surfaces these sites will be much more accessible to all of the community whatever their mobility capabilities.
“The project will work on encouraging a more diverse variety of fauna and flora and expanding the knowledge of the history of the area.
“Small changes to the route are also planned to reflect the future developments north of the A264 and it is intended to ask for the inclusion of a green corridor on the site.
“Presently, some existing paths are a muddy track and it is intended to improve these by constructing a firm limestone surface or, where suitable, a raised boardwalk. The use of recycled plastic for this is being investigated.
“Where the path is currently overgrown or badly worn it will be reinstated and enhanced to current standards. These improvements, however, will be sure to retain the important rural aspect of the Riverside Walk.”
According to the HTCP the main aims will be:
• Ensuring the retention of the Walk as a legacy for future generations.
• Working towards creating a better managed environment in terms of history and nature conservation.
• Creating learning and volunteer opportunities for more, and wider range, of people in the community.
• Enabling more recreational use of the Riverside Walk by users of all abilities.
• Boosting the local economy by encouraging more visitors to the town to use the Riverside Walk.
• Reducing negative impacts on the environment.
To share your views on the Riverside Walk email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07761 735139.