A 76-mile rural cycling and walking route spanning Somerset, England, is slowly coming into being following a lightbulb moment about how to overcome planning hurdles. One 300-meter section of the Strawberry Line in the heart of Shepton Mallet ducks under a busy road, safely connecting a large housing area to schools, shops, parks and local businesses. Within a year, digital counters detected 104,000 trips – in a town of fewer than 10,000. Another new route connects two small villages previously linked only by a narrow, fast, unpaved road, and is expected to have 30,000 trips in its first year. The difference the paths can make, volunteers and permit systems willing, is extraordinary, says Somerset councilor Ros Wyke. “We’re now the proud owner of four people’s wooden benches, in memorial or because people like the view and it’s their favorite place.”

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