The inaugural Great Stour Riverfest which launched on Monday, 18 September, coincided with Canterbury City Council publishing its Riverside Strategy for the next five years.

The strategy covers the stretch of the Great Stour through the Canterbury district, a distance of almost 10 kilometres from Chartham to Sturry, and sets out how the riverside will be looked after up to 2028.

The overall vision is for the riverside to be a “clean, safe, accessible and coherent place – a joy to wander, a sustainable transport corridor for walkers and cyclists – a confident place that reflects the city’s proud heritage and complements its important and diverse biodiversity”.

It also lays out some of the main objectives over the five years, including:

  • encouraging more people to walk and cycle off road, reducing traffic congestion and air pollution
  • allowing people to be more active to improve their health and wellbeing
  • providing a welcoming, connected, legible and accessible network of shared routes and spaces for everyone to use
  • ensuring a well-managed, clean and safe environment at all times of the year
  • providing numerous opportunities for people to have contact with the natural environment and wildlife
  • encouraging the continued involvement of local people in developing and managing the riverside and its open spaces
  • increasing the interest of the city as a destination for visitors and businesses, through the riverside corridor and its access to a range of attractive parks and gardens within the city

The Great Stour Riverfest, which runs until Sunday 24 September, celebrates the river’s historical, cultural and environmental significance and features a host of free events.

These include river dipping activities, walks and talks, bulb planting, litter picks and much more. Find out more information and event booking details.

The council’s Cabinet member for open spaces, Cllr Charlotte Cornell, said: “From the spot where it enters our district to where it then leaves us, the Great Stour provides a haven of beauty and tranquility.

“It is a place where the natural world thrives and it is the responsibility of us all to look after it and ensure this continues for many generations to come.

“This five year strategy sets out our ambitions and plans for the riverside. We are leading the way but we need others to help and support us in this vitally important work.

“The efforts of volunteers and local organisations along the Great Stour are already very much appreciated and we look forward to developing this further in the coming years.”

Read the Riverside Strategy 2023 to 2028.

By Ed

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