Communities can apply for footpath funding

public footpath

Posted on: 22 May 2012

Community groups and partnerships in Devon can apply for cash to improve their local public rights of way – thanks to the newly launched Paths for Communities Fund.

Natural England has created the grant scheme, offering between £5,000 and £150,000 for individual projects. The fund total of £2 million has come from the Rural Development Programme for England and needs to be spent before May 2014. The aim is to benefit the rural economy and rural populations – making it an ideal opportunity for communities across Devon.

Natural England is encouraging people to look around their local parish to see whether a new right of way can be created which would benefit local businesses, residents and visitors; for example a route which leads to the local shop, pub, school, cycle hire place or visitor attraction.

Routes cannot be permissive but must include a public right of way creation. This might be a new bridleway or involve upgrading a footpath to a bridleway to permit cycle and horse use. Footpath creations may be considered if there are community and economic benefits.

Applicants should also consider:

  • accessibility for wheelchair users and pushchairs
  • seating for the elderly
  • how the new route can be promoted to encourage locals and visitors to support local shops, attractions and businesses
  • how there might be integrations with public transport and links to popular destinations.


The next step

Once the applicant has submitted an initial ‘expression of interest’ form, a Local Grant Officer from Natural England will be in touch to discuss the potential project.

Normally 75% of the project will be funded and no additional public funding is allowed for the remaining 25% (including National Lottery money). However, there is some flexibility in the scheme to allow for up to 100%.

Applicants are encouraged to seek advice from their local tourism partnership. There are six groups in Devon – more details can be found at VisitDevon.

Projects should also be discussed with Devon County Council’s Public Rights of Way team, telephone 0845 155 1004 or email, as well as the relevant local access forum:

Devon Countryside Access Forum Tel. 07837 171000. Email:

Dartmoor Access Forum Tel. 01626 831006. Email:

Exmoor Local Access Forum Tel. 01398 322229. Email:

Be the first to Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are held for moderation. House rules

Posted in: Community