Off-road cycling: Missing links
Lockdown has highlighted to all of us how much we value being able to go outside and explore – to get a breath of fresh air, listen to the birds and get some exercise.
But for many people, it can be hard to know where to go if a lack of safe traffic-free trails puts them off cycling from home.
That’s why we want to make it easier to ride from your door to enjoy England’s fantastic countryside.
Often, opening up one short missing link can make the difference.
You can use our map tool to add the routes you'd like to be able to ride on, and then get in touch with your local authority to suggest where future improvements could be made to help more people explore their local area by bike.
It might be a track that isn’t open for cycling because it’s classed as a footpath, or a disused railway line that would form a great link between two towns. Perhaps it’s a boggy route that if resurfaced, could be useable all year round.
You can view other people’s suggestions by zooming in to the map below, click on them to see extra information, and then add your own. Local authorities aren't automatically notified of new additions though, so once you've added your routes we need you to do the next step of emailing your council rights of way team and asking them to look at the map.
Clicking the arrows in the top left corner will let you view extra layers such as satellite imagery and the National Cycle Network.
What are we asking for?
At a time when many people are rethinking their travel habits and the Government in Westminster is keen to get more people cycling, it’s a perfect opportunity to consider how we can make use of existing trails, paths and tracks to create safe routes.
At the moment, many routes don’t join up. Having to ride on a section of busy road can be intimidating, especially for less confident cyclists.
With a combination of upgrading existing rights of way, rejuvenating disused railway lines, and traffic calming on some rural lanes, we can link up these routes to form a network of traffic-free trails – as we explained in our Beyond the Green Belt vision.
We want to make it easier for people to suggest improvements, so local authorities can incorporate them into future planning.
Want to get more involved?
Local knowledge is the key for creating a more connected network.
If you want to improve off-road cycling in your area, there are several ways you can get involved: