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Calls for more to be done to open national parks to all

PUBLISHED: 21:26 14 March 2018

A family canoeing on Salhouse Broad. Norfolk Broads.  Picture: James Bass Photography

A family canoeing on Salhouse Broad. Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass Photography

(C) JAMES BASS PHOTOGRAPHY

The Broads Authority is looking at ways it can promote alternate means of travel for visitors to the Broads National Park.

Cycling around country lanes and tracks to more isolated parts of the Broadland area.  Picture: James Bass PhotographyCycling around country lanes and tracks to more isolated parts of the Broadland area. Picture: James Bass Photography

This includes encouraging cycling and rail travel in an effort to remind visitors and locals that there are viable alternatives to car travel.

A report released by a UK-based charity found that 93pc of visitors to national parks travel by car, leading to calls to make the country’s national parks more accessible to people who don’t own vehicles.

Campaign for National Parks said a quarter of households do not own a private car and improving sustainable travel options to open up the parks to new visitors would also reduce ongoing environmental damage.

Policy and research manager Ruth Bradshaw, who authored the report, said: “We know that currently 93pc of visitors to National Parks travel by car and in some places high volumes of traffic can have a negative impact on the landscapes and wildlife, the very things that attract people to the parks in the first place.

Sailing on the River Bure at Horning.  Norfolk Broads.  Picture: James Bass PhotographySailing on the River Bure at Horning. Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass Photography

“But unfortunately the severe cuts to rural bus services in recent years have made it increasingly difficult to reach many parts of the parks without a car.”

Her report found that bus and rail services did not run frequently enough on Sundays and bank holidays, despite these days being some of the most popular for trips.

While the report recognised the need for more funding to support public transport, it also suggested that National Park Authorities take the lead on improving sustainable access to their parks.

A Broads Authority spokesman said: “Whilst it is understandable that many people travel by car the Broads Authority welcomes any initiative that can lead to wider access and increased use of sustainable travel both to and within the Broads National Park.

Broads by Cycle self service cycle hire point at Horning.   Norfolk Broads.  Picture: James Bass PhotographyBroads by Cycle self service cycle hire point at Horning. Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass Photography

“We are planning to promote the Broads at some of the numerous railway stations in and around the Broads to remind visitors and local people that rail travel is a viable alternative.”

The spokesman said the predominantly flat landscape of the Broads also favoured cycling and walking.

“Of course the best way to explore the Broads is from the water. Hiring a day-boat, taking a guided cruise, sailing, canoeing or paddle boarding, all are fabulous ways to get around and fully appreciate our wonderful national park.”

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