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Author Topic: Great West Way  (Read 1949 times)
grahame
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« on: March 31, 2017, 12:51:05 PM »

The Great West Way is a venture lead by VisitWiltshire to promote all the good things we have on the London to Bristol corridor to overseas visitors.    First year funding for research culminated in a conference at Grittleton House yesterday, addressed by the Heritage, leisure and tourism minister (Tracey Crouch), by key players in the Wild Atlantic Way ( http://www.wildatlanticway.com/home )and the North Coast 500 ( http://www.northcoast500.com ) and Rebecca Stevens ( http://www.rebeccastephens.com/everest/ ) who was the first British woman to climb everest.

Posting under "looking forward" because I expect I (and you) will hear a lot more about this over the next two years as it develops into a brand than pulls together travel, accommodation, catering, and attractions to encourage visitors to the UK to reach out beyond the traditional honeypots of London, Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath in our area,  Stratford-upon-Avon, Chester, York and Edinburgh beyond.

This is a project I've know about for some time - however at early stages of planning it's not been very much in the press just yet.   It looks not only at self-drive road travel, but also acknowledges that people will want to be in both organised groups and self-organised and may not wish or be able to drive.   So coaches, trains, local buses and canal all very much have a part to play.   And with rail travel especially, there's an attraction in the novelty to certain nationalities visiting the UK, and an excellent fit in that the times these people will want to be on the trains is off peak when we have capacity along England's Great West Way that we wish to fill.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 01:20:24 PM »

The delights of the A303.....
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 01:24:37 PM »

Tangential to the main idea but it might be of tourist interest to some, I suppose Grittleton House, although now a private school, was in the past where Julia Donaldson, author of the The Gruffalo, spent her summer holidays.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2017, 01:25:47 PM »

The delights of the A303.....
Once (if) it's tunnelled, tourists will have to actually visit Stonehenge rather than driving past it. Though of course, it's a major tourist draw anyway.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2017, 03:10:25 PM »

The delights of the A303.....
Once (if) it's tunnelled, tourists will have to actually visit Stonehenge rather than driving past it. Though of course, it's a major tourist draw anyway.



Stonehenge to Devizes (where there's a superb museum of archaeology) - just 30 minutes to drive, but between 2 hours 45 minutes and 3 hours by public transport. And no through fare ...

Is it any wonder that visitors who could be helping fill empty daytime seats on public transport aren't finding out what's available, and if they are finding out they're being put off it?

There is real potential here for some of the biggest rises in passengers numbers that have been seen, and regrettably that's because the current offering is so disjointed that it repels all but the most determined.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2017, 04:00:45 PM »

I bet the car hire firms are happy with things the way they are.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2017, 05:51:20 PM »

I bet the car hire firms are happy with things the way they are.

I think you might be surprised.  The Great West Way branding will should bring in far more people to the area than they'll loose to other means of transport, and will encourage people to look wider than the honeypots of Stonehenge and Bath.  I would suspect a net increase in the car hire too, bearing in mind the confidence that the Great West Way branding should give to the more nervous travellers.

On TransWilts, we had expected negative vibes from taxi drivers.   In practise, it's been the opposite as former car users have switched to rail, but then use taxis at train-free times, or for station runs.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2017, 08:54:36 PM »

Yes. I meant that car hire firms are probably happy with poor public transport links to places like Stonehenge, rather than they were against tourist promotion; that's obviously to their advantage. And I was being somewhat cynical even in that. It's quite possible that better public transport links also benefit car hire just as they do taxi drivers, if people can eg take a train to Bath then a bus to Devizes and then maybe hire a car to get to Stonehenge and Avebury.
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Surrey 455
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2017, 12:27:52 AM »

I found out 2 years ago that there are no direct buses to/from Stonehenge apart from the sightseeing buses which aren't cheap.Sad  I caught a normal bus from Salisbury to Amesbury and walked from there to Stonehenge. Unfortunately and I don't know why, I didn't research how to get from Stonehenge back to Salisbury or any other station. I ended up having to wait an hour or two for the tourist bus to get back to Salisbury station.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2017, 09:03:14 AM »

I found out 2 years ago that there are no direct buses to/from Stonehenge apart from the sightseeing buses which aren't cheap.Sad  I caught a normal bus from Salisbury to Amesbury and walked from there to Stonehenge. Unfortunately and I don't know why, I didn't research how to get from Stonehenge back to Salisbury or any other station. I ended up having to wait an hour or two for the tourist bus to get back to Salisbury station.

You'll note from one of the maps that the bus route from Devizes to Salisbury runs less than 2 miles from the new visitor's centre - so for the fit visitor, the public transport advise might well be 40 minutes on the bus followed by 40 minutes on shank's pony - that's over an hour quicker that the fastest public transport offering from the on line systems.

I'm told that the bus can't be diverted to serve the visitor's centre as would mean an extra vehicle would be needed on the route, and it would then need even more subsidy.  Also told regulars wouldn't like it.   Extra mileage costs. Etc ... but I have a feeling that to some extent I'm being fed porkies.   I note that the Devizes to Salisbury bus is being diverted via Chitterne for 2 weeks in April due to a road closure, adding 16 minutes to each trip, and they seem to have achieved that OK; also noting the runtime to keep it clock face and what that means in terms of vehicle layover.  Probably a subject to discuss in Frequent Posters as I wouldn't want to bring discredit to certain parties, nor to darken the tone of the Great West Way thread with a negative.
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2017, 12:22:40 PM »

Visit Wiltshire has the next stage funding for the Great West Way

https://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/media/press-releases/press-release-13-july-2017

The logical entry point to Wiltshire for rail passengers stopping to take in the county on their way from London to Bristol is Chippenham ...
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2017, 06:28:10 PM »

On the Salisbury to Stonehenge bus topic, I have used the Salisbury to Larkhill. This is for the Larkhill Garrison and runs a regular service, certainly still does according to the timetable earlier this year. A shorter walk than from Amesbury.
Walking mentioned, but probably not more of day-to-day cycling infrastructure. They have done some cycling improvement work within towns and some tourist routes, but not much on the horizon I have seen on "commuting" type routes to Salisbury. In the area of Salisbury Plain you can be a bit circumspect about off-road cycling routes, possible meeting with large green or camouflaged traffic.
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2017, 06:46:38 PM »

On the Salisbury to Stonehenge bus topic, I have used the Salisbury to Larkhill. This is for the Larkhill Garrison and runs a regular service, certainly still does according to the timetable earlier this year. A shorter walk than from Amesbury.

There is also the direct bus from Salisbury to Stonehenge, and the Salisbury to Devizes bus which passes to the west, now much closer to the visitor's centre in it's newer location. See my earlier post. There is potential for the Devizes bus to call at the Visitor's centre and provide a link to Devizes, where there's an excellent Archaelogical collection in the museum - a natural visit along with Stonehenge for tourists, and the Great West Way is very much about opening up some of these less visited tourist attractions rather than the Stonehenge and Bath honeypots being the only destinations for overseas tourists.

Quote
Walking mentioned, but probably not more of day-to-day cycling infrastructure. They have done some cycling improvement work within towns and some tourist routes, but not much on the horizon I have seen on "commuting" type routes to Salisbury. In the area of Salisbury Plain you can be a bit circumspect about off-road cycling routes, possible meeting with large green or camouflaged traffic.

Talk of cycle hire to go up to Stonehenge ... there was a bid for this put in, but it didn't get anywhere; that's been put aside as a learning experience and may crop up again.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2017, 07:58:05 PM »

There's been talk for years of putting a cycle-friendly crossing of the A303 so that people can ride safely from Salisbury to Stonehenge - at present it's no fun at all (I did it once, years ago!). Maybe it'll be a spin-off benefit from the tunnel...
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2017, 09:50:51 AM »

As it happens, I cycled past Stonehenge (and through Avebury) on Saturday, which is how I know that Avebury is served by bus no. 42 but can't remember where from or how frequently! Didn't see any tourists cycling (well, I suppose we were tourists in a way, but not visiting Stonehenge) but lots walking along what used to be the A344 between the stones and the visitor centre at Airman's Corner, rather than use the frequent buses.

What struck me was not only how visitor numbers have grown enormously since I visited (um, that was over 30 years ago, you could walk right up to the stones) but how extremely concentrated the honeypot is. We rode along a byway through the Cursus not a single tourist there. A few walking through the fields just off the road and (what looked like) thousands around the stones themselves, in the visitor centre and on the road between the two. It would be interesting to compare the numbers there with estimates of the total population when Stonehenge was built! Avebury visitors have room to swing a fully grown sabre toothed tiger. Silbury Hill, West Kennet long barrow and Cherhill all have space for individual mastodon tours. Personally I like it that way but I suppose the National Trust or English Heritage (or whoever owns these places) would welcome the opportunity to charge an entrance fee. Similarly the Red Lion would probably welcome more trade (didn't go in, maybe it is very busy already? didn't look it though) but what would the villagers of Avebury (and Cherhill etc) feel about becoming a tourist hotspot?
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