Inter-urban cycle route developments
Update - March 2017
The result of a public consultation in 2012 showed that the public were very supportive of a new cycle route between the two towns and a preferred alignment (RWB to Swindon Option E) was chosen. Wiltshire Council and their partners at Sustrans, have undertaken feasibility and preliminary design work for the scheme and the plans are now well progressed. In spring 2017, Wiltshire Council managed to secure funding for the detailed design of the route and this will now be progressed over the coming months. However, on some sections of the route, the council are still in negotiations with land-owners regarding access arrangements over their land. When this matter is resolved we will seek to finalise our plans and apply for planning permission for the cycle route. Once we have obtained planning permission it is hoped that the project can then be delivered to a clear timetable and there should be a better chance of securing funding to build the route. The estimated cost of the route is likely to be in the region of £2 million but unfortunately this cost cannot currently be met by Wiltshire Council’s existing transport infrastructure budget. However, we are working with Highways England and other organisations to try and identify suitable funding sources for the scheme.
For a number of years there has been a public demand for a safe cycle route between Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon. The main driving force behind the proposal comes from growing congestion and capacity issues at Junction 16 of the M4. However, the A3102 and Hook Street that link the two towns are busy and hazardous for cyclists so a new route would improve safety and encourage more people to travel.
Wiltshire Council, Highways England, Sustrans and Swindon Borough Council have been investigating the possibility of a new cycle/pedestrian route between the two towns and have examined a number of route options between Royal Wootton Bassett and Windmill Hill Business Park in Swindon.
Aims, objectives and benefits
As well as improving health and supporting economic growth, key objectives of a new cycle route include:
• To help mitigate a forecast increase in traffic around Junction 16 of the M4 and Royal Wootton Bassett as a result of new development.
• To increase transport choices between Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.
• To reduce emissions from existing and forecast levels of traffic.
• To assist in improving journey time between Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon by reducing reliance on private motor vehicles.
• Improve cycle and pedestrian safety between Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.
• To address high levels of commuting by car.
Junction 16 of the M4 is seriously congested during peak periods with four of the five arms of the roundabout either at or over capacity. This will be exacerbated by the additional 4500 homes and employment space being elivered at Wichelstowe over the coming years and new development in the Royal Wootton Bassett area. A new pedestrian/cycle route could help achieve a significant shift from the car to walking and cycling. It could potentially save 111,000 vehicle trips each year across Junction 16 (these estimates are based on results achieved through investment in cycling infrastructure elsewhere in the UK).
Five possible options have been identified for this cycle route, relevant maps can be found in the Royal Wootton Bassett to Swindon download section on this page.
Option A- adjacent to A3102 and Junction 16
This is the most direct route and does not travel through privately owned land however it is considerably more expensive than the other options.
- Alignment- the route is traffic free and follows a new pedestrian/cyclist shared use path constructed along the north side of the A3102.
- Safety- risks presented by crossing the A3102 and side turns, safety work at these points would be required.
- Usage- research has shown this route would be well used as the most direct option and cyclists would feel safer on a route alongside the road. The amount of traffic on the adjacent road may deter some users.
- Distance- 2.5 kilometres
- Cost- estimated at £1,619,420
Option B- Coped Hall to Hook Street
This option is the cheapest but the route is indirect and there are issues with the use of Hook Street and crossing the A3102.
- Alignment- the route follows the line of an existing footpath to link Coped Hall to Hook Street via the agricultural bridge near Midge Hall Farm. The route then follows a carriageway along a section of Hook Street to reach Windmill Hill.
- Safety- risks presented by a lack of suitable options for crossing the A3102 east of Stoneover lane and the speed and volume of vehicles using Hook Street.
- Usage- the route is reasonably direct for journeys to West and Central Swindon but not to Windmill Hill. Combined with the inclusion of Hook Street, this route is likely to see less usage.
- Distance- 3.1 kilometres
- Cost- estimated at £825,055
- Land ownership- Although the route follows a footpath there is no right of way for cyclists. The route would require the support of two landowners both of whom have said that they do not wish to see increased public access across their land.
Option C- Coped Hall to Windmill Hill
This option is attractive as the cost is equiviant to option B however there are still issues with crossing the A3102 west of Stoneover Lane and it does not have all the support of landowners.
- Alignment- the route follows the line of an existing footpath to link Coped Hill to the agricultural bridge over the M4 near Spittleborough Farm. The route then crosses over land to the rear of Lydiards Field to reach Great Western Avenue.
- Safety- risks presented by crossing the A3102 and a short section of farm track northwest of Spittleborough Farm where cyclists will occasionally share the route with agricultutral vehicles.
- Usage- this route is not the shortest but it does connect with the centre of Windmill Hill which will attract many users. Most of the route is across fields which will appeal to most although some users will feel less safe away from the A3102.
- Distance- 3.4 kilometres
- Cost- estimated at £827,896
- Land ownership- the route passes through four land ownerships.
Option D- Coped Hall to Windmill Hill via Sally Pussey roundabout
This option has a reasonable prospect of delivery and would encourage new cycle trips however it's proximity to the A3102 and M4 for much of the route presents safety concerns.
- Alignment- the route follows the A3102 until where the old Swindon to Wootton Bassett road splits near Spittleborough Farm. From here it follows the old road and turns toward the motorway on the existing footpath, crossing grazing land until the motorway bridge. The final section crosses land to the rear of Lydiards Farm to reach Great Western Avenue.
- Safety- risks presented by this route are motor vehicles on the A3102, crossing the side turnings on the A3102 and the access around Spittleborough Farm.
- Usage- This route isn't as direct or attractive as option C but greater visability of the route from the A3102 may encourage more motorists to consider cycling. Unlike options B and C this route would serve a catchment area for eastern Royal Wootton Bassett.
- Distance- 3.7 kilometres
- Cost- estimated at £1,096,031
- Land ownership- the route passes through three land ownerships, all of whom have indicated their support in principle for the route.
Option E- Coped Hall to Windmill Hill via Sally Pussey roundabout (alternative)
This route is the preferred option as it refines aspects of option D by producing a cheaper and more direct route. It isn't the most attractive option as it only follows the A3102 for 800 metres before using 2.2 kilometres of new cycle path over fields.
- Alignment- the route follows the A3102 until just east of the Sally Pussey Inn. From here it crosses over fields to reach the agricultural bridge over the M4 near Spittleborough Farm.
- Safety- This route is marginally safer than option D as it avoids vehicle access to Spittleborough Farm.
- Usage- Apart from the 800 metres this route is adjacent to the A3102, the route is generally safer as it crosses over fields. The short time this route is visible to motorists may encourage more motorists to cycle. Like option D, this route would serve a catchment area for eastern Royal Wootton Bassett.
- Distance- 3.1 kilometres
- Cost- estimated at £946,340
- Land ownership- The route passes through three land ownerships, all of whom have indicated their support in principle for the route.
Preferred: Option E- Coped Hall to Windmill Hill via Sally Pussey roundabout (alternative)
This option is preferred by all parties, the reasons for choosing a route that includes a shared use pedestrian/cycle path constructed alongside the north side of the A3102 are as follows:
- The route is reasonably direct and serves the best possible catchments for commuters.
- There is safety for commuters due to the segregation between cyclists and motor vehicles.
- The route links to a safe location to cross the A3102 at Royal Wootton Bassett.
- There is an increased feeling of safety and security as a section of the route runs along a busy road visible by motorists.
- Visibility of the route from the A3102 promotes cycling as an option to motorists.
- In principle, this route has support from the relevant landowners.
- While this isn't the cheapest option, the cost to benefit ratio makes it economically deliverable.
In 2002, a petition signed by more than 1000 residents of Salisbury asked for a safe cycle route between Alderbury and Wilton. This resulted in a Wiltshire Council, Sustrans and Highways England investigation into ways of improving the cycle routes and facilities for cyclists, pedestrians and disabled people. In 2007, Wiltshire Council was awarded £150,000 through the Sustrans/National Lottery Connect2 scheme to improve the route. This funding was not sufficient to deliver the whole route and further problems were encountered with landowners unwilling to allow a cycle path on their land. The Connect2 legacy report available in the sidebar explains this programme in more detail and the corresponding map gives an overview of the existing and proposed routes.
What has been delivered so far?
- A cycle path to connect Petersfinger Road and the A36 (constructed by Wiltshire Council in 2009)
- A cycle path between Wilton roundabout and Park Walls junction (constructed by the Highways Agency in 2011).
- An improved pedestrian crossing point at the junction of Wilton Road and Pembroke Road and the conversion of the footpath on Pembroke Road to a cycle path (constructed by Wiltshire Council in 2011).
- A crossing on Southhampton Road (constructed by the Highways Agency in 2012 with funding from Wiltshire Council).
What we hope to deliver in the future
- A cycle path between Park Walls and Skew Bridge. Highways England are investigating the feasibility of this.
- A cycle path on Minster street which will require land negotiation, funding and further feasibility work.
- A path between Park Walls and Quidhampton which will require funding.
- Future development at Churchfields should reduce the number of lorries using Churchfield Road making it a safer alternative to Wilton Road.
- A cycle path on the A36 ring road between St Mark's Roundabout and Waitrose. The Highways Agency are investigating the feasibility of this.
Aspects that will be more difficult to deliver
- A cycle path between Bourne Way and Petersfinger Park & Ride site as the landowners do not wish to negotiate.
- A cycle path between Petersfinger Road and Marshmead Close as some of the landowners do not wish to negotiate.
The council will continue to work with the Highways Agency and Sustrans to find a way to deliver this route.
Wiltshire Council and local communities have an aspiration to create a predominantly off-road cycle route to link Salisbury and Stonehenge in order to:
- Provide leisure routes for cyclists, walkers and disabled people.
- Improve access to Salisbury and Amesbury for the residents of the Winterbournes.
- Improve access from Durrington and Larkhill to Amesbury.
- Provide commuter routes for employees at Porton Down, reducing traffic through the Winterbournes.
- Encourage more tourists to stay in the Salisbury area and travel to Stonehenge by bike rather than driving.
- Encourage tourists to explore the wider Stonehenge World Heritage Site e.g. Woodhenge.
A survey carried out by Winterbourne Parish Council showed that 80% of residents agreed that they want a cycle route to avoid the A338, 80% wanted a cycle route to Salisbury and 50% wanted a better route to Porton Down. There is insufficient verge/pavement width along the A338 to provide a pedestrian/cyclist shared use cycle path.
The current national cycleway route (NCN 45) along the Woodford Valley is an on-road route for leisure and tourism but does not provide for the residents of the Winterbournes, Porton, Gomeldon and Idmiston. As it is on-road, it is also not as attractive to leisure riders or tourists with younger children. The completed route via Porton would provide a circular route with the existing Woodford Valley route. In the longer term, any proposed changes to the A303 would allow for a direct path from Amesbury to Stonehenge, providing circular route around the World Heritage site.
The council has investigated various options in consultation with stakeholders such as businesses at Porton Down, employers and parish councils. The current preferred options are:
- Ford to Porton
- Porton to Amesbury
- Amesbury to Stonehenge
Option designs are available in the sidebar.
A feasibility study has been carried out by Sustrans on behalf of the council looking at the section between Ford and Tanners Lane. This study recommends a new off-road path between Green Lane and Hurdcott. The council is currently investigating the options with landowners and looking to secure funding for the route. Further consultation will take place if a route can be agreed with landowners and funding becomes available. The feasibility study is available in the sidebar.Close
A feasibility study has been carried out by Sustrans on behalf of Wiltshire Council to look at routes that can be signposted and improved in the short to medium term. The recommended route from Salisbury to Nomansland via Downton is being signposted. Please view the dowload 'Salisbury to the New Forest' for information about all route progress in this area.
Town cycle network projects
This scheme aims to improve safety for cyclists travelling from the town centre to the rail station through new cyclist/pedestrian shared use paths along Station Road and improved crossing facilities at key junctions.
Design work is expected to take place in 2018.
Wiltshire Council and South West Trains are working together to create a cycle route on Mill Road to improve access to the rail station.
We expect to publish designs here in Summer 2018.
Town cycle network maps
Maps and designs explained
An existing cycle facility that is suitable for less confident cyclists. Some cycle lanes on very busy roads may not be included.Close
A proposed new route where major improvements are required. The route shown is not necessarily the exact route that will be constructed. Further assessment, initial design work and consultation would be needed to select the most appropriate route design. In some cases the preferred option cannot be achieved e.g. if the council cannot obtain the landowners permission to increase access through their land.
Streets which are suitable for cycling due to low traffic speeds and volumes. In some cases the route may still require further improvements. Many residential streets are likely to be quiet streets, but only key routes are marked.
A street that does not meet ‘quiet street’ requirements but is still better than an alternative busy route e.g. it might mark a quiet route with a high gradient, very low traffic flows with speeds over 30mph, or medium traffic flows with low speeds.
A public right of way or permissive path that connects to the edge of the network and is legally cyclable, free of barriers and at least 1 metre wide with a good aggregate surface or better. These routes are not key routes on the town cycle networks but may be key rural or leisure routes.
A right of way or permissive path that connects to the edge of the network and is not legally cyclable and/or does not meet the quality criteria described in 'Existing rural link' but has the potential to be upgraded.
This refers to short sections of footway and some footpaths or permissive paths. Cyclists should dismount on these paths. Some landowners may require you to carry your bike on footpaths, particularly in rural areas.
Wayfinding is how we use directional signs, maps and physical surroundings such as road markings to find our way to the places we want to go. Improved wayfinding in Wiltshire will help to encourage walking, cycling and public transport usage, as well as creating a more pleasant visitor experience for shoppers and tourists.
In the sidebar you can find Wiltshire's wayfinding strategy and the improvement plans we hope to implement when funding is secured.
Chippenham sign placement plan
Devizes sign placement plan- part 1
Devizes sign placement plan- part 2
Melksham sign placement plan
Salisbury sign placement plan
Trowbridge sign placement plan- part 1
Trowbridge sign placement plan- part 2
Warminster sign placement plan
Westbury sign placement plan- part 1
Westbury sign placement plan- part 2
Wiltshire's wayfinding strategy