A 170-mile circular cycleway around the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is set to open this summer following the award of £48,000 funding from the European Union and British government.
Cyclists have welcomed news of the route’s opening, and believe that it may encourage even more people to take to their bikes.
The route, which passes near Luton and Stevenage in the north and goes through Henley in the south, has already been road-tested by local cycling advocates, including Alison Smart, chair of Sustainable Wallingford’s transport group, who told the Oxford Mail: “We want to encourage new people who may be nervous about cycling to think about giving it a go.
“If they pick up leaflets and see a route already planned for them and know that it’s safe, then it will encourage them to start.”
She added: “We know the local roads, but don’t know roads further afield. Routes like this mean you can go out and have a pleasant ride without too much effort.”
The route will mostly follow low-traffic country roads, and between now and the summer signs will be put in place marking the cycleway and giving directions to amenities such as railway stations and tourist attractions. A map of the route and dedicated website are also in the pipeline.
Annette Venters, from the Chilterns Conservation Board, said: “It’s fantastic to get the funding we need to make this project happen.
“The cycleway will provide the sort of enjoyable leisure cycling in lovely surroundings that lots of people are looking for, and it will boost businesses along the route, like bed and breakfasts and pubs.”
To tie in with the new cycleway, Sustainable Wallingford has also published a leaflet highlighting cycle rides in the local area, which can be obtained from Wallingford Information Centre as well as the Oxfordshire town’s library and from local shops, pubs and tourist attractions.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.