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National Cycle Network 15 years old next month

Sustrans highlights key facts about flagship scheme

Created by Sustrans in 1995, the National Cycling Network is set to celebrate its 15th birthday next month, and the sustainable transport charity has highlighted some of the key facts and figures behind the network, which was originally planned to cover 2,500 miles but now extends to more than five times that distance.

In Sustrans’ own words:

1. The National Cycle Network was officially launched on 11th Sept 1995 when it received £43.5million from the National Lottery Millennium Commission - with rock legend Meatloaf handing over the cheque on national television.

2. The Network now extends over 12,600 miles .

3. It carries 1 million walking and cycling journeys every single day.

4. There are more miles of National Cycle Network routes in the UK than there are of motorways, and the Network is the most widespread construction project since the building of the motorways.

5. The Network passes within 1 mile of over 57% of the population.

6. Per mile an average motorway costs a staggering £29.9 million (Hansard, 30 October 06), whereas the National Cycle Network costs around £45,000 per mile to build - not only more sustainable but cheaper too.

7. Urban traffic routes account for 26% of the Network but carry an astonishing three quarters of all trips - showing that the Network is a key way that people make local everyday journeys.

8. There are around 2,000 bridges, 10,000 seats and 50,000 signs on the Network.

9. The first route to be created on the Network was the Bristol to Bath Railway Path - a 17-mile traffic-free trail along a disused railway.

10. The highest point on the Network is Black Hill on the famous Sea to Sea (C2C) route - 1,998ft above sea level.

11. The newest complete route is the 'Way of the Roses' - a 170 mile coast to coast ride from Morecambe in Lancashire to the seaside resort of Bridlington in Yorkshire, passing through magnificent landscapes including the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and the Forest of Bowland and Nidderdale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

12. The three most challenging routes are Lon Las route which runs the length of Wales, the Pennine Cycle Way from Derby to Berwick upon Tweed, and the Sea 2 Sea route which is a whopping 234 mile challenge.

13. Almost 3000 volunteers help Sustrans maintain and promote the Network.

14. The Network hosts the largest collection of outdoor art and sculpture in the UK - over 2,000 pieces from over 300 artists over the last 20 years.

15. The Network even goes international - Route 1 is part of the North Sea Cycle Route, which travels down through Norway, Sweden, Denmark (through Odense - the Danish "cycling capital"), Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, across to England and up to Shetland. A staggering 6000km through eight different countries and the longest signed cycle route in the world.


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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vorsprung | 13 years ago

Y'know what I did last week?

I went on holiday in Holland

They have a national network of cyclepaths. The UK doesn't.

The position of Sustrans in claiming that there is a network in the UK really seems like a ridiculous claim after visiting Holland.

Simon_MacMichael | 13 years ago

Not much else to do with 20-minute wait to change trains other than shoot some library pics that may come in useful one day  3

MalcolmBinns | 13 years ago

I know that sign!!!!  1

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