Introducing Putting Down Routes

Group of people, including mobility scooters on a trail between hedgerows

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29th January 2024

We’re thrilled to announce we’ve been awarded a £250,000 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Defra’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme for our brand new Putting Down Routes project. It is widely acknowledged that the countryside is not always a diverse or inclusive place, so we’re seeking to address these challenges head-on. The two-year project is dedicated to improving physical access and equality, diversity and inclusion along the North Downs Way National Trail. Our goal is to create a more accessible and welcoming environment for individuals from underrepresented groups.

Four Asian people leaning on the side of a bridge at the foot of the white cliffs

Key components of the project include the delivery of physical enhancements to the North Downs Way to remove barriers for those with access needs, developing and delivering Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) training for our North Downs Way Ambassadors, recruiting and training new ambassadors from more diverse backgrounds, and offering EDI training to local businesses and visitor attractions along the National Trail.

In addition, we’ll be creating and hosting a new range of bespoke walks and events tailored for local community groups.  Our aim is to break down barriers to participation, increase accessibility and build confidence for all newcomers to the landscape, encouraging them to return for future visits.

Three smiling girls, one in a wheelchair, walking through grassland

Putting Down Routes is a collaborative project between the Kent Downs National Landscape and North Downs Way National Trail, Wild With Wheels – an organisation led by Gini Mitchell, a North Downs Way Ambassador dedicated to facilitating mobility access to the countryside – and Black Girls Hike, an organisation who provide a safe space for black women to explore the outdoors. 

The North Downs Way is one of only 16 designated National Trails in England and Wales, and is hosted by the Kent Downs National Landscape. The trail passes through 153 miles of incredible countryside, including the protected Surrey Hills and Kent Downs National Landscapes.

For the project we’re recruiting two new job roles, a Putting Down Routes Project Manager and a Putting Down Routes Communications and Engagement Manager. Find out more about the roles and apply below.

Putting Down Routes is funded through Defra’s Farming In Protected Landscapes programme and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thank you to National Lottery players for making this project possible. The Farming in Protected Landscapes fund helps farmers, land managers and others to deliver projects in the farmed landscape under the themes of climate, nature, people and place. 

Putting Down Routes funding bodies

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