TEN MAGNIFICENT CYCLE ROUTES
November 18, 2016
The official opening of a new 4km shared path between the town of Petersfield and Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire this November takes the number of routes created or improved in the South Downs thanks to the Department for Transport’s national Cycle Ambition Fund to a magnificent ten.
In 2013 we successfully bid for £3.81m from the Cycle Ambition Fund to which a further £0.45m was added in February 2015. The new path, called for in a petition by more than 4,000 cyclists, will be the final route supported by this fund.
“It’s always exciting to see our vision of easy-to-use cycle routes – connecting people living in towns and cities with the National Park’s spectacular landscapes – becoming reality,” says Allison Thorpe, who leads on access and recreation for the South Downs National Park. “This fund has been all about helping more people, to get out and enjoy everything the South Downs has to offer.”
Over the past three years the Cycle Ambition Fund has helped to create or improve 45km for use by cyclists, walkers and horseriders in the National Park. This includes:
- A new stretch of off-road path along Ditchling Road taking cyclists out of Brighton to the edge of Stanmer Park in the South Downs National Park;
- A new route linking Barnham train station to Bignor Roman Villa and connecting with the South Downs Way National Trail;
- A new route enabling commuters and other cyclists to avoid a dangerous stretch of road between Lewes and Ringmer;
- A new track from the edge of Brighton Race Course, near Whitehawk, linking to a popular track from Woodingdean to Falmer and Sussex University;
- Two new sections of the Egrets Way from Lewes towards the YHA South Downs at Southease and Southease to Piddinghoe;
- The final section needed to complete the Shipwrights Way from Bordon-Whitehill to Portsmouth;
- A new section extending the Centurion Way, which starts in Chichester, further into the National Park;
- A major upgrade of the Meon Valley Trail;
- A diversion for the Downs Link path at Bramber helping people avoid a dangerous road crossing.
In 2014 the Department for Transport published an analysis of value for money of the scheme which judged that for every £1 of public money spent on these routes they delivered £4.60 worth of social benefits – for example by reducing traffic congestion and through the health benefits of physical activity.