The North Downs Way is to first National Trail in the UK to be fully visible on Google Street View. In the summer of 2015 the North Downs Way was captured by the Google Trekker; a panoramic Google Street View camera mounted on a backpack designed to go “off-road” to map areas Google has never been before. The North Downs Way applied to Google as the 1st UK National Trail to undertake this to highlight to the public the wonderful landscapes and communities our trail runs through.
The North Downs Way is one of only 15 designated National Trails in England and Wales with diverse appeal and many unique features. Passing through 153 miles of stunning and varied countryside, the North Downs Way passes through the protected landscapes of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Kent Downs AONB.
The Google images will encourage people to explore the trail from the comfort of their homes and to inspire them to put on their shoes and walk the trail. This will attract many more visitors to the communities and businesses along the trail and will have a positive impact on visitor economy. We particularly hope this will inspire some of the urban populations in the South East who have little immediate green space but who have easy access to the trail and landscapes through which it runs. The trail also captures the English section of the Via Francigena, a 1900km pilgrims trail running from Canterbury to Rome which Canterbury City Council supports as it attracts many overseas visitors to the area.
Business Opportunities and Visitor Economy- Get in Touch!
The launch of the Google images will present opportunities to businesses along the trail to engage, and work with the North Downs Way National Trail in order to promote their products and services to visitors. They want businesses and organisations to think about the potential that this presents and to contact them with ideas and proposals on how to work closer together for the benefit of all.
The route begins at the impressive new start sculpture in Farnham, Surrey designed locally by FdK Design www.fdk.co.uk and built by the Utopia Forge in Guildford www.utopia-forge.com. The start sculpture was officially opened by Farnham Town Mayor Cllr Pat Frost and Cllr Mike Band, Mayor of Waverley in March 2016.
The Mayors, pictured here with Trail Manager, Peter Morris (wearing the Trekker camera) along with many of the Volunteer Wardens who help maintain the route and staff from the Surrey Hills AONB unit who help maintain and promote the trail in Surrey.
The images of the entire trail can be viewed here: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/north-downs-way/google-trekker