Sustrans are updating the National Cycle Network to make it more accessible and provide a consistent user experience.
Rather than a single classification they have two:
- Traffic-free route on the National Cycle Network
- On-road route on the National Cycle Network
The traffic free routes are perfect for families and those new to cycling (orange on map), the on road routes are for tourers and those more experienced (blue on map). The idea is to try and increase the orange routes and give people the confidence to ride “creating paths for everyone”.
Additionally, about 4.5% of the Network, which comprises of 753 miles of busy on-road sections, have now been taken off the map, with no signage assigned, as they fall too far short of the quality standards Sustrans aspires to.
The changes are part of a long-term UK-wide plan for the National Cycle Network to double the miles of traffic-free routes from 5,000 to 10,000 and make the Network better and accessible for everyone.
Sustrans only owns around 500 miles, or 4%, of the Network. The rest belongs to various landowners, who are ultimately responsible for their own stretch.
See the map here: https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/ncn
Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans said:
“The National Cycle Network is a vital part of the UK’s green infrastructure, connecting people to places and to one another, providing family-friendly spaces and boosting local economies. The move to differentiate paths and routes will help us offer more targeted and relevant information on the paths for everyone choosing to walk, cycle and wheel.
“It’s also an opportunity to promote routes as leisure cycling destinations in their own right and build the UK’s cycle touring offer to both domestic and international audiences. In times of public health crisis and climate crisis, travelling actively has never been more important. Together, we can move towards our 2040 vision of paths for everyone.”
Studies have shown trips on the National Cycle Network generate around £88 million for the UK economy through reduced road congestion and contribute £2.5 billion to local economies through leisure and tourism each year. Another good reason for more safe paths!