The Glastonbury Town Deal has secured £23.6 million investment for the town, representing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver the objectives outlined in the Town Investment Plan

The Robert Richards Initiative

Lead Organisation: Somerset Council

To deliver 2.5 kms of walking and cycling paths, with infrastructure to be agreed, and to provide opportunities for business and skills support.  The aims are to connect people with nature and to better link with the Somerset Levels & Moors.


  • Towns Fund:  £2.75m
  • Co-Funding:  Potential funding being explored


  • Number of start-ups and/or scaleups:  10
  • Other:  improved health from cycling and walking:  800 people
  • Other:  visitors to demonstration website:  12,000 PA

Key Project Themes

  • Tackle Climate Change
  • Grow the Economy
  • Reduce Deprivation
  • Improve Health and Wellbeing
  • Green infrastructure
  • Health
  • Cycling facilities
  • Facilities for business and learning.


  • Will act as a focus for solutions to address climate change and ecological decline, as well as health and wellbeing.
  • Addresses need in Glastonbury to provide outside space to mitigate virus issues.
  • Addresses need for skills training to attract good green jobs
  • Recognises that climate change and pandemic issues necessitate the need to change the way we live and work

Project Summary

Named after and dedicated to the first Chair of the Glastonbury Town Deal Board, the Robert Richards Initiative is a multi-strand sustainability project that encompasses education and training, green infrastructure and wellbeing.

A new website and learning platform is being produced in collaboration with the Open University, with support from Strode College. This will provide a comprehensive range of courses around sustainability, skills development and wellbeing, most of which will be offered free of charge.

The partnership with the Open University will be the first of its kind nationally, with courses and qualifications being specific to, and labelled for, Glastonbury. These will range from half-hour workshops to post-graduate courses, with a grant scheme being explored for the latter.

Improving green infrastructure within the town is another important aspect of this project, with the creation of 2.5km of paths for use by walkers and cyclists. These will link with existing pathways to help locals and tourists alike make the most of all that Glastonbury has to offer. A new affordable electric bike hire scheme will also be introduced.

In addition, the Initiative is funding additional sustainability solutions within three other Town Deal projects: The Baily’s Buildings, The Life Factory and Glastonbury Enterprise and Innovation Hub.

Overall, the Robert Richards Initiative aims to boost awareness of sustainability issues, raise knowledge and skill levels for local residents, and support Glastonbury in becoming a carbon neutral town by 2030.


Project FAQs – Paths

How will the Town Deal funding improve walking and cycling in Glastonbury?
The Robert Richards Initiative aims to improve both utility routes (journeys taken for essential trips such as work, school and shopping trips) and recreational routes (leisure trips for pleasure such as running, dog walking or learning to ride a bike) by creating or improving access routes around the town. Glastonbury residents will also have access to affordable electric bikes and a new wayfaring scheme will be installed to make it easier for residents and visitors to walk and cycle between key destinations.

Where will the paths be?
The exact routes are still being worked on. The aim is to create or improve paths between Town Deal projects in the Beckery area and better link them with the town centre. At Tor Leisure, a path around the outer edge of the pitch, closest to Benedict Street, will provide a firm surface for walkers, runners and wheelchairs/prams that can be used year-round.

What surface will the paths be?
It will be dependent on the location – utility routes should be tarmac when connecting directly to the town centre; elsewhere the paths will be unsealed limestone dust or hoggin (a mix of gravel, sand and clay).

Will the paths be a new right of way?
The paths will mostly be permissive paths which will enable the landowner to carry out any maintenance works without having to apply for a formal closure or diversion. This will be agreed via a legal document to protect the access.

When will the works be completed?
The paths will be delivered over the next three years and link to the timings of build projects in the Town Deal. The electric bikes should be available by 2024 and the wayfaring improved by the end of 2024.