Northumberland coastal village seeks to improve cycling facilities to meet growing demand

A coastal community wants to improve its facilities for the growing number of visiting cyclists.

By Ian Smith
Sunday, 28th February 2021, 1:05 pm

Craster, with its picturesque harbour and proximity to Dunstanburgh Castle, is a popular destination for cyclists tackling the Northumberland Coast and Castles cycling route.

However, there are few suitable places to leave bikes for anyone wanting to spend time in the village or walk along the shoreline to the castle.

The issue was raised at a meeting of Craster Parish Council.

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Cycling tourism is on the up in Northumberland.

"We need extra provision,” said Cllr Steven Bagley. “We have two goalposts at the back of the tourist information site but there’s no signage and at busy times people just wouldn’t see the provision there.”

Cllr Mark Green added: “By the time people get here, what they probably want more than anything is to use the toilets so something near there which is visible where no-one is going to interfere with the bikes should be what we are looking at.

"What’s happening at the moment is that most people lock them near the gate approaching us from the castle or against the blue village sign above the harbour.”

It was also acknowledged that some of the bikes are valuable and owners want to ensure their security.

Craster.

Cllr Martin Smith, chairman, said: “The National Trust don’t want cyclists to cycle over the land. We need a cycle locking area so people can park their bikes to walk to the castle and then walk back and go on their merry way.”

Local resident Fyona Robson said any measure which helped to take cyclists off the footpaths around the shoreline would be helpful.

Cllr Michael Craster suggested an area on the north side of the harbour could be suitable for overflow cycle parking.

It was agreed to contact the National Trust and Sustrans for advice and possible funding.

Local county councillor Wendy Pattison also raised the issue at a coastal summit event.

“I think it’s a really good idea to have cycle parking,” she said. “It’s something we could take a look at for the villages which get a lot of cycling tourism.”

Paul Jones, director of local services at Northumberland County Council, replied: “Cycling parking provision is something we are really keen on providing. If there’s a lack of capacity at Craster we will happily have a look at that.”

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