No response from the Council on my previous suggestions of course, but undeterred (or spurred on perhaps?) I shall continue my series of constructive suggestions for new cycling infrastructure with an idea that we explored on our ride last Sunday.
We were heading back towards St Werburghs from UWE, just north of Stoke Park, initially following the long established cycle path (which I recall proposing around 1990) which links UWE and Lockleaze around the perimeter of Hermitage Wood. Faced with the rather bleak prospect of a long descent through Lockleaze and then a climb back up along Muller Road we agreed (I lead, they followed) to test out out a potential off-road link (just to left of hedgerow below) past the Purdown Telecom Tower.
Pic credit to Matt Taylor
The route picked up the historic ridge route, Sir John's Lane, and then to the open space down to Muller Road. The slopes here get pretty steep (as one of our company found to her cost) so careful path alignment is needed to achieve manageable gradients. There's already a proposal for a bridge across the crest of Muller Road to link Fairfield School to proposed playing fields on Purdown so this could provide an excellent public link for cyclists and walkers too.
View Purdown to Montpelier in a larger map
Our route could then continue along Allfoxton Road to Narroways Junction where the redundant railway formation could be used to link across St Werburghs to Montpelier, so creating an almost continuous off-road route from UWE to Montpelier with of course numerous local links, in particular to the top of the intriguing Boiling Wells Lane to link directly down to St Werburghs. The route would link at either end to good cycling routes so enabling say Clifton to UWE or Easton to Bristol Parkway.
The old railway bridge abutments at Narroways - new bridge opportunity?
As before I offer these ideas up for public discussion and even, if you believe in miracles, official action. To be fully appreciated the route needs to be followed on the ground (it is mostly accessible now) to get some idea of the stunning views from the Purdown Ridge. To my mind this route could give Bristol's cyclists something to get excited about, something sorely lacking in the official Cycling City proposals. Comments welcome.