One of the first things that impressed me about Hawke's Bay on arriving here more than a year ago was the network of cycleways that allow cyclists and walkers to enjoy our beautiful countryside.
Now it is set to get better with a new project to have a cycle and walking trail connecting Waipukurau to Waipawa. Base funding has been sourced, according to Rotary River Pathways committee chairman Roy Fraser.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council is also involved in the project. Its communications manager, Drew Broadley, said there had also been informal conversation about one day connecting Waipukurau with Havelock North.
There are no firm plans yet, but it is good to think that one day cyclists and walkers could have the ability to go all the way from Napier to Waipukurau in absolute safety.
I walk along Te Mata Rd most early mornings before linking up with the cycleway to Clive and the new cycleway on either side of Te Mata Rd has made things a lot easier for me. I am safely off the road and able to walk without twisting an ankle in the dark. There are not many people using the cycleways these early winter mornings, but come summer I am sure they will be well used.
Not only is it a benefit to locals, it is also a drawcard for tourists. A week or so ago I had a Monday off and went for a cycle along the trail to Clive. I passed two groups of foreign tourists on their bikes - and this is in winter!
Credit must go to the local councils in Hawke's Bay for coming up with practical ways of getting people out and about, exercising and enjoying the countryside.