Lady Canning’s Trail – A Model For the Future?

Steve and Annie do the honours!

Steve and Annie do the honours!

I’ve been all of a flutter since the opening of the Lady Canning’s trail.  My first reaction was, phew, at last!  After all, it’s nearly two and a half years since Cy Turner first thought of crowd-funding the build.  

But then I had a rethink.  Less than two and a half years to raise the cash, get Sheffield City Council, the Peak District National Park Authority, ecologists and archaeologists to do the official stuff, persuade local residents that it wouldn’t be a new age of the visigoths, plan it, build, it, test it and open it?!  Caramba! That’s a good effort!

My second thought could be summed up in the phrase, “I flippin’ love Sheffield I do!” Who’d have thought three years ago that scabby mountain bikers would put their hands in their pockets and raise a substantial amount of cash?  Better still, because you lot handed over your beer-tokens, local businesses like Cotic Bikes, Norton Mayfield Architects and Avanti Conveyers were so impressed they started raiding the petty-cash. For this exercise in piggy-bank emptying to result in GOoutdoors breaking the bank with a £60,000 donation was very much the cherry on top.  A Sheffield firm supporting a Sheffield initiative to build a Sheffield trail, a pleasing symmetry.

But the thing that most excites me is where this might lead.  Ably supported by Ride Sheffield, Sheffield City Council has been pushing the adventure sports agenda and has called itself the Outdoor City.  Outdoor cities need trails…. lots of trails.  Which begs the question, where next? Add to that the importance of the health agenda at the moment, the need to introduce more kids from all backgrounds to physical activity and this looks less like a MB trail and more like a natural health service.

We can now point to the success of Lady Canning’s and use it to persuade the National Park Authority and interested land owners and managers that we’re excellent partners to work with because we get things done and what we do works.  So, Ride Sheffield members, form a big circle now, and give each other a right nice pat on the back…..