Cyclepath Upgrade

The Parish Council has been advised by Sustrans, the custodian of the National Cycle Network (NCN), that it plans to upgrade the section of route NCN5 that runs from the west end of the village to Moor Ditch (see map below).

The section suffers from overgrowth from vegetation from the side and is quite narrow in places, which makes it difficult for all users – cyclists, horse riders and walkers – to pass each other safely.  The tarmac surface has also deteriorated.

The path will be resurfaced to a width of 2.5m-3.0m.  In order to safely carry out this work, it will be temporarily closed and this is expected to take place at the end of September/beginning of October.  Warning notices will be displayed with suggested alternative routes.

The section of the route that runs from Moor Ditch to the Appleford Road was resurfaced in 2012.  The section from the Appleford Road to the tunnel under the A4130 is expected to be upgraded as part of the NE Didcot development by Croudace and L&G Homes, but no date has yet been set for this.

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8 Responses to Cyclepath Upgrade

  1. Stephen Brown says:

    I am very concerned about the scale of the plans.
    The path is narrow and could helpfully be widened to match the section from Moore Ditch to Appleford Rd which is about 1.8 to 2m wide.
    2,5m to 3.0m will completely change the character of this historic Bridleway which should be its main priority use. The cycle route should be secondary to its historic purpose.
    We have had a spate of anti social cycle behaviour a year or so ago where some cyclists were shouting at horse riders and racing through endangering pedestrians. Warning signs erected by the PC were torn down presumably by irate cyclists ?
    If this is turned into a cycling “motorway” what chance do horses and pedestrians have from from these small number of inconsiderate cyclists.
    I am in favour of repairs and minor widening but not to such an extent that Sustrans are proposing.
    Match the Moore Ditch to Appleford Rd section which seems to work well for all users.

  2. Martin Elliff says:

    As a regular cyclist on the route, on the very rare occasions I have met horses on this section, there is insufficient width for us to pass each other safely. A skittish horse on a path can be very scary for cyclists and walkers. The wider it is, the safer it is.
    In my experience, cyclists are by far the major users of this path. It is a national cycle route and it needs to be made safe for all users. I welcome Sustrans’ proposal.

  3. J May says:

    I would like to endorse Steve Brown`s comments. I was involved as a Parish Councillor in the initial stages of this cycle usage of the bridleway, and as far as I am aware the position remains that the British Horse Society gives a right or lien to cycle users on the bridleway, but horses have priority usage. Conflicts of interest do nothing to promote correct and respectful usage of the pathway, and at the time I was involved, we also had to instal width restrictions to prevent use of the route by off-road vehicles to and from Didcot. It is also important that the surfacing should be of a kind which is horse-friendly. It is the responsibility of adjacent landowners to cut back any trees or bushes.

  4. Angela Beresford says:

    I agree with other comments that this is a bridlepath and as such horseriders and pedestrians have automatic priority over bikes, regardless of whether there are more cyclists than horses using the track (I am unaware of whether there are any data to support this assertion by Mr Elliff). The work should be carried out to a suitable standard and surface for horses, and should not prioritise the desire of cyclists to race along this bridlepath putting others at risk, for example by widening the track as suggested.

  5. Chris Waites says:

    There are lots of cyclists using this route. There are relatively few horses, not least because there is a much more pleasant bridleway to the south, and it is a dead end to horses because they are prohibited from using the section south of Appleford Road.

    As such, it makes sense to make the route usable to cyclists. Every other part of National Cycle Route 5 has 2.5 metre wide path and to suggest we need a uniquely narrower path is impossible to understand. If you are doing 10mph, safely passing other cyclists and pedestrians requires this width.

    Many of the cyclists using this route to commute to Culham or Oxford are people who would otherwise be driving. You can have cyclists on a path in the countryside, or an driver who simply sees the village as an obstacle to get through as quickly as possible. Would much prefer more cyclists to more rat run cars.

  6. Peter Surridge says:

    J.May is correct. Across the country British Horse Society are fighting Sustrans who are actively tarmac surfacing ancient bridle ways and in many cases putting up –“No horses” signs- endorsed with gov funding but no reverence to the law or ancient history. The legal position remains that their use is secondary to the equestrian right and cyclists should defer, excepting only where government money is spent on newly created cycle paths within urban areas, which does not include the rural path under discussion.
    The surfacing of the whole width is compromising historical equestrian rights of use in favour of cyclists -as tarmac is an unsuitable surface for equestrians, thereby rendering their passage unsafe- which would potentially be a discriminatory act against a lawful user group . A more reasonable approach would be to invest in cutting back and maintaining the overgrowth restricting its width at present to allow both user groups suitable safe passage and enjoyment of this popular -designated -local bridleway.

  7. Stephen Brown says:

    I am afraid I have to disagree with Chris Waites.
    This bridleway provides a link for horses to and from Appleford.
    Also if horse riders need a circular route ( although not ideal ) they only need to use a short stretch of road between Pearith Cottages and Moore Ditch to form a loop in and out of the village.
    Also the section from Moore Ditch Bridge to Appleford Road is not 2.5m wide but approx 2.0m with overgrown edges making it only 1.8m in the main. This would be my preferred width but standards have been increased since this was built so I accept it will probably have to be 2.5m.

    • Chris Waites says:

      Regardless, the number of pedestrians and cyclists using the path outnumbers horse riders many times.

      The path is too poorly surfaced and narrow for cyclists, and flooded much of winter. I’m sure horse riders are considerate enough to realise the path should be usable for all, not just them. Otherwise we would have unsurfaced roads because it’s better for horses even if it’s much worse for cars.

      Objecting to surfacing a 750m section if route so that you can do a circular route via a much longer section of road seems counterintuitive.

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