Traditional tea and buns promised for cyclists on 'first ride' launch of West Country route this weekend...

At only three miles long and the day after L'Etape du Tour organisers announced next summer's two epic rides in the Alps and Pyrenees it would seem that news of a country bike ride from Wiltshire's Bradford on Avon to the outlying village of Lower South Wraxall wouldn't be a huge story for keen cyclists.

But the ride that's been planned to launch a new bike route between Bradford on Avon and Lower South Wraxall to the North through rolling countryside has the advantage of coming up this coming Saturday 22nd October and the added bonus is that there are tea and buns being laid on by a local bike shop owner. Being "fairly flat" according to John Potter of Bath's John's Bikes, the course should also be a lot friendlier to casual family cyclists than riding up any mountain range for 100 miles in Lycra.

According to Potter, who is also Deputy Mayor of Bradford on Avon, "It’s been fantastic how the residents of South Wraxall in particular and from the surrounding villages have pulled together to make this happen and thanks must go to the Parish Council, Wiltshire Council and SUSTRANS for the signage, Cumberwell Golf Course and Roy Francis Plant Hire for improving the surface on the way, the Longs Arms for the tea and Duncan Hames for his support.   It just shows what can be done – absolutely brilliant."

Cyclists are meeting up at the car park of St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon at 2pm and will get a send off from Bath's Natural Theatre Company "in their own inimitable way," as John Potter puts it. The ride should take half and hour and the local MP Duncan Hames will be welcoming riders with the tea and buns from 2.30pm at The Longs Arms, Lower South Wraxall.

The new South Wraxall route runs between St Laurence School, past the Dog and Fox, through Little Ashley, through Cumberwell Golf Course and then through the bridle path into South Wraxall along the MacMillan Way. This will be a much safer route for getting between the two villages on foot or on bike, avoiding the busy Leigh Park Cross Roads and the B3109.  Pupils will be able to get to St Laurence School from the villages to the North in about ten minutes by bike. Cyclists will be able to leave Bradford by a much safer route than usual to visit Great Chalfield Manor or up to The Courts at Holt.

The route will also be a great addition to Bath's Two Tunnels Greenway which is due to open in the Spring of 2012.

Bradford on Avon to South Wraxall Cycle Route Launch Bike Ride
2pm Saturday 22nd October 2011 St Laurence School Car Park, Bradford on Avon BA15 1DZ


Lady Margaret and her brother Rev. Cedric from Bath’s Natural Theatre Company mingled with over a hundred cyclists from Bradford on Avon, South Wraxall, Monkton Farleigh and surrounding villages before the cutting of the ribbon and sending the cyclists on their way. "Lots of families and some really young children; fantastic!" according to John Potter of John's Bikes who sponsored the event including the tea, cakes and home made bread at the finish. Riders were welcomed at the end of the three mile route by MP Duncan Hames, who had already walked the route himself earlier.

Lady Margaret of Bath's Natural Theatre Company meeting her public

John Potter of John’s Bikes, Lady Margaret and Rev. Cedric at Bradford on Avon

Lady Margaret, Rev. Cedric, MP Duncan Hames, John Potter of John’s Bikes and Bill Parker, Chairman of the South Wraxall Parish Council outside the Longs Arms at South Wraxall


mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 6 years ago

Criticisms of the path's length etc. are kinda daft when the text in the latter paragraphs seems to highlight that this path is going to be of considerable utility - helping people ditch the car and integrate cycling into how they live their lives.

Love it or hate it - that's what needs to happen to start a cycling revolution, and if off-road paths are the only way for it to happen, then bring them on.

(Writing as a 25 mile per day road cycling commuter btw)

nick_rearden [437 posts] 6 years ago
mad_scot_rider wrote:

Criticisms of the path's length etc. are kinda daft

Sense of humour alert  1

Campag_10 [153 posts] 6 years ago

This is a good example of a local initiative that will improve the lot for cyclists and hopefully encourage parents/carers and children to cycle to school instead of driving.

Anyone who has actually attempted to get a traffic free cycle route approved and funded will know what a huge amount of effort and tenacity it takes - overcoming all the naysayers, nimbys and cynics.

Outside of Greater London, with its £9.2 billion pound annual TfL budget, cycling will survive and prosper only if enthusiastic activists like John Potter put in their own time challenging the status quo in their local communities.

Mr Potter is leading the way - if more cycling advocates can get themselves elected to their local councils we might get provision for cycling higher up the agenda and better funded.

I agree with mad_scot_rider that the smart arse tone of the first para is uncalled for.

nick_rearden [437 posts] 6 years ago
Campag_10 wrote:

...the smart arse tone of the first para is uncalled for.

I'm sorry if I misjudged the tone for you. No one has greater admiration than me for the work done by all the people that are needed to put something like this together. Not only that John Potter has a peerless reputation for organising fun events which is why I ran the story. I hope you're there to help celebrate everyone's achievement.

mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 5 years ago

Oh dear - we have yet another example of the difficulty of conveying a jocular tone while typing without resorting to *shudder* emoticons.

Thanks for the clarification Nick

I was just really impressed with an actual USEFUL cycle route project after the stupidity of Glasgow City Council, who think nothing of running a bike lane along a perfectly straight & un-junctioned (is that a word?) piece of road then stopping it abruptly 10 yards before a set of traffic lights.

Sorry if I misread your intention

vorsprung [282 posts] 5 years ago

It's a loverly part of the world. I hope the path is better surfaced than the photo shows.

I've only been there at the weekend when it's quiet. I can only assume that the B3109 is a bit of a wild road during the rush hour.

nick_rearden [437 posts] 5 years ago
vorsprung wrote:

I can only assume that the B3109 is a bit of a wild road during the rush hour.

It's not the worst around here by any means (A363 Sally-in-the-Woods anyone?) but it is a bit of a race track at going-home time and arguably worse when it's 'quiet' because the racers can then *really* give it some welly. Certainly wouldn't be happy for my kids to be riding along it whereas this new route will open up a really pleasant route from the villages into BoA and especially St Laurence's School.