Northampton park puts up more signage on route in a bid to attract more walkers

A survey carried out by the University of Northampton revealed that 75 per cent of 266 respondents support increased signage on the walking route

Monday, 9th August 2021, 2:06 pm
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 2:08 pm
Temporary directional signage will be erected in Delapre Park in a bid to attract more walkers.
Temporary directional signage will be erected in Delapre Park in a bid to attract more walkers.

The University of Northampton has been investigating to see if temporary directional signage on one route within Delapré Park could increase walking there.

The research project started earlier this year in collaboration with Northamptonshire Sport and Delapré Abbey. The signs contain maps and walking distances as well as directional arrows to help people navigate their way around a set walking route and give them more confidence that the route is safe and they know where they are.

Lecturer in exercise physiology, Dr Declan Ryan, has been leading on the research. He said: “The researchers, Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust, Northamptonshire Sport and myself are extremely grateful for the large public interest in this research project.

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“We’re half-way through this project and every public comment helps us understand how, when, and why directional signage should be installed to help the people of Northamptonshire explore their local greenspaces."

The research included a survey about residents' views of the proposed signage and an observation exercise about current walking route use in Delapré Park. The results of the survey have now been analysed from 266 responses with 75 per cent of respondents supporting the installation of signs.

Forty-seven per cent of respondents strongly agreed that directional signposts would make them feel more confident about using unfamiliar routes and 39.5 per cent strongly agreed the signs would make them feel less anxious about trying new routes.

Survey participants also had the opportunity to share what information they believed should feature on the signs such as maps, emergency contact details and consistent colours and fonts.

Features respondents said they would not like to see on the signs include motivational statements to encourage physical activity and the amount of people who have used the route each month; it was strongly felt that introducing a competitive element to the signs could be counter-productive for some walkers.

Dr Declan Ryan continued: "We will be continuing our engagement with the local community as users of the signposted walking route will be able to share their experiences by scanning a QR code or visiting the website address found on the route signs within the Park.”

The temporary signs will be installed by September 2021. There will be ongoing monitoring to see what impact the signs are having to inform future directional signage projects in the county.

For more information about walking routes in Delapré Park, visit https://delapreabbey.org/park.