‘Major’ improvement works complete on traffic-free cycle and walking route to Oxford

Major improvement works have been completed on the traffic-free walking and cycling path at Kennington, giving people an alternative to joining the traffic on the usually busy A34.

With more than £250,000 of funding from Highways England and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, Sustrans has resurfaced the path. It has also removed and modified barriers and cattle grids along the route, which is part of Route 5 of the National Cycle Network.

The improvement works were aimed at encouraging more people to walk or cycle into Oxford for work or leisure, instead of relying on using cars to get into the city.

James Cleeton, Sustrans director, England South, said: “We’re really pleased about the reception these improvements have received. At this time of lockdown and physical distancing, walking and cycling provide vital transport options to key workers and others for their essential journeys.

“This route enables people to make those journeys, or get out for their one piece of exercise each day, whilst observing physical distancing guidelines. We hope that people will continue to use the route for everyday journeys once restrictions on movement are lifted.”

Oxford Preservation Trust owns the land that the path crosses. Director Debbie Dance said: “We were delighted to work with Sustrans to improve the path across our land. The improvements support our climate change vision and further develop accessibility to our valuable green spaces.

“Our commitment is to conserve Oxford’s green setting sharing its beautiful flora and fauna with all encouraging positive health and well-being. Comments from local residents and cyclists from further afield highlight how these improvements have had a positive impact.”

Councillor Yvonne Constance, cabinet member for environment at Oxfordshire County Council, added: “Steps to improve our transport matter; not just because we need to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, but also to improve the quality of our lives.

“This work will make a positive contribution to our efforts to improve cycle routes as well as helping to develop active, connected communities.”

The path was built 20 years ago and runs close to the mainline railway through Kennington, before joining the Thames Path into Oxford, where improvement works have been completed by Oxfordshire County Council.

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