An increased focus on how tourism can boost economic growth is set to be a key goal in the county council’s efforts to protect and improve the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The Wolds were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) 45 years ago and cover 216 square miles between Louth, Market Rasen, Caistor, Horncastle, Spilsby and Alford.
Lincolnshire County Council has a statutory duty to conserve the natural beauty of the Wolds and produces a five year management plan outlining its key objectives for the area.
Members of the council’s Executive will consider the new plan running up until 2023 at a meeting in Lincoln on Tuesday, May 1.
It is considered to be more of a “light steer” rather than a significant departure from the existing plan, and has been supported by the Lincolnshire Wolds Joint Advisory Committee.
The plan was previously endorsed Lincolnshire County Council’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee in January this year, with councillors at the meeting stressing the need to attract more tourists to the area.
The latest data available shows that over 3.4 million people visited the Wolds in 2016, with tourism contributing £166.5 million to the local economy.
Working with local businesses and communities, the council hopes to encourage the development of cycle hire and bike loan schemes, walking routes and horse riding.
The council proposes further joint promotion under the Love Lincolnshire Wolds tourism partnership, and to market the area to people visiting Lincoln, the East Coast or Cadwell Park.
An emphasis will also be placed on providing more land which is available for a variety of uses.
The council also hopes to promote the importance of established events such as the Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival.
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economy and Place at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “This new management plan for the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB provides us with an opportunity to manage this beautiful designated landscape for future generations.
“Whilst it is a living and working landscape it is one of only two designated landscapes in the East Midlands region. The beautiful rolling countryside, picture postcard villages and high quality pub and food offer is highly attractive to tourists and visitor numbers have grown considerably in recent years.
“It is vital we plan for more visitors in the years ahead whilst planning to protect those things that make the area so attractive.”