RESIDENTS have pledged to battle for a speed limit for Exe Estuary Cycle Trail and for it to be re-routed due to mounting concerns over safety.
Although the trail is regarded as a "wonderful asset" by villagers and the parish council in Lympstone, there have been concerns about the safety of villagers and users of the trail, which opened in 2008.
Ahead of the submission of the parish plan this winter, in which the impact of the trail is the biggest issue, residents are calling on the county council to readdress the issue of its route through the village.
The trail sees well over 200,000 users a year and this volume of traffic is increasing year-on-year.
Instead of following the railway line, the route takes pedestrians and cyclists through the centre of the village on a narrow, unpaved road.
But members of the Exe Cycle Group say the route through the village is appreciated by users and are fearful of changes that could deter users of the route which provides commuters and visitors with a sustainable alternative to car travel.
Instead, they have proposed that a 10-mile-an-hour speed limit is imposed.
On behalf of residents, Judith Carter, said: "The trail is a wonderful asset and we welcome people to the village but the main problem is that it is unsafe.
"The original proposal was for the trail to run alongside the railway line, instead at Sowden End it was routed through the village to the station.
"The problem is the volume of traffic has vastly increased and pedestrians and cyclists have to travel through the village on a narrow, unpaved, single lane road where people's front doors open directly on to it."
If the path was rerouted to follow the track it would mean running behind some residents' gardens, but Mrs Carter said it could be "adequately screened". Councillor Pete Acca, parish council chairman said: "The trail's impact on safety is the biggest issue in the parish plan and is one that has got worse. The impact on the village is quite horrendous, the speed at which cyclists come through is frightening but the council has said it won't do anything unless someone is killed."
But Adrian Toole, Exe Cycle member, said: "The route through the village is very pleasant, it's not an inherently unsuitable route. You can't reroute the country's cycle-ways because they are too busy.
"A tried and tested way is to impose a speed limit and there would need to be an innovative way of enforcing this."