A major project has been launched that would see a cycle link created between Helston and Porthleven in the style of the popular Camel Trail in the hope of bringing hundreds more visitors to the area each year.

There are also plans to introduce a 'Helston Hopper' bus that would allow people to jump on and off around the town, and - importantly - get people from the cycle trail into the town centre to hopefully spend in its shops and businesses.

While the overall project is estimated to cost in the region of £1 million, and is likely to take a number of years to complete fully, funding for the first phase of the scheme has been agreed and Cornwall Council is said to be "100 per cent committed."

Although further consultation is needed, it is hoped that everything will soon be in place for work to be completed by March 2021.

The first phase would see a new cycle entrance created giving better access to the Penrose Estate, along with a proper cycle crossing from Coronation Park and signs highlighting both the trail and what can be found in the town centre.

Read next: Cornwall to receive more than £750,000 to fast-track new walking and cycling lanes

David Turnbull, who is one of the main leaders of the project, in his roles as director of both Helston Community Interest Company (CIC) and the South Kerrier Alliance, which now manages Coronation Park, said: "The Camel Trail generates about £3 million of economic benefits for Wadebridge and Padstow.

"Even if we could get a small part of those benefits by creating a more defined and sign-posted trail that would be a benefit to Helston.

"We have a world-class environmental asset but there's no entrance; it's a crappy car park. You have to cycle over a tight bit of pavement or over a dodgy road to get to it."

It is one of 40 ideas raised during public consultations with Helston CIC, which have been whittled down to five key projects - with this being the first major one to be taken forward.

Falmouth Packet:

Cycling is already popular through the Penrose Estate. Photo: National Trust

Under the new scheme an access point would be created off The Furry bypass down through the housing estate and along the Porthleven Road to Flora Motors, cutting out the roundabout where there have been a number of collisions involving cyclists over years.

The footpath would also be widened into a cycle path over the bridge to the Penrose entrance.

Extra cycle racks will be put by the post office in Coinagehall Streeet, Horse and Jockey Lane and by the Wendron Street car park, to make it more "cycle friendly" for visitors on bikes.

Mr Turnbull estimated that this first phase would cost in the region of £50,000 to £60,000 but said: "Money is in the budget for completing this before March 2021.

"That gives us at least a basis of a safe entrance to Penrose.

"I had a meeting with Cornwall Council last week and they're 100 per cent committed to phase one."

He added that he had met with Cornwall Council's transport team who were planning to launch a number of new bus routes - one of which would be a Helston Hopper, and he has asked that one of the stops be the Fairground Car Park.

Read next: Computer says no - Wendron building may be reconsidered after online meeting fails

Mr Turnbull said there was also interest in doing something with the Penrose Community Area, with the Helston Climate Action Group keen to create a community orchard and a wildflower meadow.

The second phase would then see development at the Porthleven end. Funding still had to be found for this, but the plan would be for a new entrance at the Highburrow car park at Cooper's Lane, bypassing the dangerous stretch along Shrubberies Hill.

"In between the National Trust have it covered, with all the work they have done around Penrose House and across the top that is now accessible and easily cycleable.

"It would complete a green commuter route - you could cycle from Helston to Porthleven, or the other way, without having to go on the road at all," he added.

The aim is for following phases to then see more facilities added at each end, including picnic areas.

Mr Turnbull stressed: "It's not something that's going to happen overnight. But Cornwall Council have been positive and supported it, and the concept is written in to the Porthleven Neighbourhood Plan now.

"The people of Porthleven have really supported it, Helston Town Council have invested in it and the National Trust are 100 per cent on board."