The Gritstone Trail and the Sandstone Trail form two parallel long distance walking routes through some of the finest and distinctive landscapes in England. Both routes are of a similar length of 35 miles / 56 km and take around 3 days each to walk. The Twin Trails vision sets out to realise their potential by contributing to Cheshire’s rural visitor economy, both in their own right and as ‘twin trails’ that offer a unique visitor experience expressed by their contrasting but equally beautiful landscapes.
The Twin Trails will be recognised across the UK for providing a visitor experience of the highest quality in terms of outdoor activities, accessibility and services. The Trails will increase the numbers of day visitors to Cheshire as well as increasing the number of overnight visitors. The additional potential for local businesses is the opportunity to attract visitors to enjoy the Trails throughout the shoulder months; the scenery of the Trails changes dramatically throughout the seasons whilst notably the Trails remain more accessible than some other hill walking destinations. A longer season will both support existing businesses and contribute to growth in the rural visitor economy of Cheshire.
Deliver path infrastructure improvements to a consistent high quality, increasing accessibility, easing way-finding and broadening interpretation to ensure comparable standards across the Twin Trails.
Develop and promote the Twin Trails experience through all relevant media channels.
Develop circular walks and parallel trails for cyclists and horse riders, to widen the offer to new markets
Attract new visitors, especially during shoulder months to assist local rural businesses.
Convert day visitors to overnight visitors by offering a multi-day experience.
Work with SMEs and communities to increase and improve visitor services along the Trails, such as accommodation, catering, transport, luggage transfer and events, in order to increase jobs and visitor economy receipts.
A partnership project, which has been developed by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire East Council to improve the infrastructure of Cheshire’s Twin Trails, has gained Rural Development Programme for England (2014-20) funding. The funding has been granted under the growth programme as part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. It will see work carried out at both Sandstone Trail and Gritstone Trail sites.
The project will begin soon and the aim is for improvements on the trails to be delivered throughout 2018 and 2019. The benefits of the improvements will be there for visitors to enjoy from 2019 and beyond
Partners working with Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council include Marketing Cheshire, Sandstone Ridge Trust, Visitor Economy Partnership, Chambers of Commerce and Enterprise, user groups, Parish and Town Councils, community groups and Peak District National Park Authority.