The county’s cycling network, which includes the Exe Estuary Trail, has been recognised with a prestigious award from the Devon Federation of Small Businesses.

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Devon County Council has been presented with the award for Best All Round Scheme for Tourism for its £13million investment in cycle trails in the county over the past three years.

The funding has helped develop a number of iconic trails, building on years of investment in cycling and walking routes in the county.

This includes the Exe Estuary Trail which will connect 80,000 Devon residents to Exeter, Drakes Trail which links Tavistock to Plymouth and includes the newly opened Gem Bridge, Town Quay Connect 2 bridge, linking Newton Abbot to Kingsteignton via a new route, and the well-established Granite Way in West Devon and Tarka Trail in North Devon.

These schemes have helped in the establishment of new businesses and diversifications, and have supported local firms including bicycle shops and hire centres, hostels, accommodation and food outlets in the county.

The last five years has seen cycling numbers grow by five per cent across Devon.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, the cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “This award is particularly important as it shows that our investment is valued by local businesses.

“Combined with high profile events like last weekend’s Tour of Britain, which draws visitors into the county, and last year alone generated an additional £3million for the local economy, Devon is being put on the map as a premier destination for cycling.

“We want more people cycling in the county more often and by working with our partners, particularly the district councils, we are achieving that and will continue to build on that through our cycling strategy.”

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