North Downs Way

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LinusR
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North Downs Way

Postby LinusR » 31 Oct 2018, 9:17pm

There's a new North Downs Way route being developed. So far there are four sections with gpx files from Guildford to Dover with a section from Farnham to Guildford to follow. https://www.cyclinguk.org/northdownsway

Has anyone ridden any of this route?

Some sections do appear to include quite busy roads. There's also some good Google Street view (taken from a mountain bike it appears; [edit: actually it looks like from a guy walking with the Google camera]) of a section of the route from Merstham to Oxted (captured in 2015): https://www.google.com/maps/@51.2635307,-0.0714699,2a,90y,73.5h,67.84t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1syTgoE0Fh0-xxgu5V7INa3g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Zulu Eleven
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby Zulu Eleven » 1 Nov 2018, 12:42pm

Oh, it’s me again for this one I’m afraid Linus

The GPX route will be updated again within the next couple of days, part of that being that this was the route used for a press run, with a couple of diversions for things that we did on the way (essentially tied in with the North Downs Way anniversary festival)

I’ll reassure you that none of the roads used are ‘busy’ (apart from the centre of Canterbury obviously) in fact there’s only even a couple of busy roads being crossed. The two exceptions I’ll place on that are a short stretch of road that we cannot avoid, under the motorway, to the east of Gatton Park, the hill near Titsey place (steep downhill, I couldnt comment about using the nearby segregated NDW Footpath instead) and one short stretch after Eastwell near Ashford

All these sections are being actively lobbied for formal alternatives/solutions such as permissive shared use of a stretch of Footpath, but these things take inordinate amounts of time to solve.

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LinusR
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby LinusR » 1 Nov 2018, 1:44pm

Zulu Eleven wrote:Oh, it’s me again for this one I’m afraid Linus

The GPX route will be updated again within the next couple of days, part of that being that this was the route used for a press run, with a couple of diversions for things that we did on the way (essentially tied in with the North Downs Way anniversary festival)

I’ll reassure you that none of the roads used are ‘busy’ (apart from the centre of Canterbury obviously) in fact there’s only even a couple of busy roads being crossed. The two exceptions I’ll place on that are a short stretch of road that we cannot avoid, under the motorway, to the east of Gatton Park, the hill near Titsey place (steep downhill, I couldnt comment about using the nearby segregated NDW Footpath instead) and one short stretch after Eastwell near Ashford

All these sections are being actively lobbied for formal alternatives/solutions such as permissive shared use of a stretch of Footpath, but these things take inordinate amounts of time to solve.


Thanks for the info and the comments on the "not busy" roads. That's reassuring. Will the gpx files be updated on the page or will they be elsewhere?

Zulu Eleven
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby Zulu Eleven » 2 Nov 2018, 3:50pm

To confirm, the routes will be uploaded on the existing page within the next couple of days

Weave rebalanced it a bit to concentrate on three stretches that can be reached from railway stations

Farnham to Oxted
Oxted to Hollingbourne
Hollingbourne to Dover


As prevuouslt discussed, all as off-road or quiet-road as possible, with a few short sections of busier road where we need to cross main routes. We’ve also put an alternative for day 2 that’s more ‘gravel’, but at the expense of introducing a few sections of busier road through Otford.

For all the routes you may notice a couple of, ahem, sections where we have obviously been forced to divert the route onto a road due to a section of Footpath... (make of that what you will in accordance with formal CUK policy on public footpaths) but you’ll likely be able to see the bits we are lobbying for improvements.

A shout up that we know there are some persistent path obstructions around the Borough Green & Wrotham area in the middle of the “off-road” day 2, blocked gates to prevent traveller access etc, etc which the highway authority are working on resolving,
Last edited by Zulu Eleven on 2 Nov 2018, 7:03pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LinusR
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby LinusR » 2 Nov 2018, 5:58pm

Zulu Eleven wrote:To confirm, the routes will be uploaded on the existing page within the next couple of days

Weave rebalanced it a bit to concentrate on three stretches that can be reached from railway stations

Farnham to Oxted
Oxted to Hollingbourne
Hollingbourne to Dover


As prevuouslt discussed, all as off-road or quiet-road as possible, with a few short sections of busier road where we need to cross main routes. We’ve also put an alternative for day 2 that’s more ‘gravel’, but at the expense of introducing a few sections of busier road through Otford.

For all the routes you may notice a couple of, ahem, sections where we have obviously been forced to divert the route onto a road due to a section of Footpath... (make of that what you will in accordance with formal CUK policy on public footpaths) but you’ll likely be able to see the bits we are lobbying for improvements.

A shout up that we know there are some persistent path obstructions around the Borough Green & Wrotham area in the middle of the “off-road” day 2, blocked gates to prove that traveller access etc, etc which the highway authority are working on resolving,


Thanks for the update. I look forward to exploring!

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gaz
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby gaz » 4 Nov 2018, 11:56am

LinusR wrote:Has anyone ridden any of this route?

I've ridden the Wrotham to Charing sections often enough to be familiar with them, choices seem reasonable if you want to follow the NDW and aren't going to go footpathing. I've also ridden a fair amount of the Charing to Ashford section (largely on road) and a few bits North of Wye heading into Canterbury.

The actual NDW is available on streetview, handy for taking a look at some of the the bridleway/byway sections of the Cycling UK route.
Last edited by gaz on 12 Nov 2018, 9:05pm, edited 1 time in total.

MikeF
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby MikeF » 10 Nov 2018, 10:46pm

I don't see how it's possible to cycle some of the existing North Downs Way eg around the Oxted area. Also I wouldn't want to see it made possible to cycle it in some places, unless the route deviated from the existing route. It's portrayed as a hill top ride, which it is in places, but in many places it isn't. It's very different from the South Downs.

Edit I see that much around Oxted is on roads so hardly North Downs Way. You don't need mountain bikes for that. :wink:
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

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LinusR
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby LinusR » 12 Nov 2018, 9:21am

MikeF wrote:I don't see how it's possible to cycle some of the existing North Downs Way eg around the Oxted area. Also I wouldn't want to see it made possible to cycle it in some places, unless the route deviated from the existing route. It's portrayed as a hill top ride, which it is in places, but in many places it isn't. It's very different from the South Downs.

Edit I see that much around Oxted is on roads so hardly North Downs Way. You don't need mountain bikes for that. :wink:


No it's quite different to the SDW (which I rode in stages this year) although sections of SDW are on road, too. The NDW is very much a work-in-progress as the national trail site explains:

The North Downs Way unlike the South Downs Way is not horse/ cycle friendly throughout but we are working with Cycling UK to make the North Downs Way more accessible to cyclists and riders.

[...]

The North Downs Way is predominantly for walkers. However of the 153 miles (246 kilometres), 31 miles (50 kms) are public bridleway, 21 miles (33 kms) are Byway or Restricted Byway and 30 miles (48 kms) are metalled road. Horse riding and Cycling is not permitted on footpaths.

It should be noted that some of these footpaths are steep, narrow and winding; you wouldn't be able to ride safely even if permitted due to the ground conditions and landscape character.


As I understand it the SDW went through a long period of development (and it is still ongoing). Other national trails have sections where they are bridleway/byway and then split into separate walkers and riders routes eg, The Ridgeway, Harcamlow Way.

Cycling UK is suggesting three 50 mile stages for the NDW but I'm minded to do sections closer to 25 miles a day as day rides from London connected by train stations.

[edit] Just noticed there's a good report about the route and its future development here: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/routes/south/search-gravel-bike-adventures-englands-green-pleasant-land-396116

Labrat
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby Labrat » 12 Nov 2018, 3:13pm

STW published this over the weekend, with some lovely photos:

https://singletrackworld.com/2018/11/no ... -rat-race/

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Re: North Downs Way

Postby RickH » 12 Nov 2018, 4:03pm

LinusR wrote:[edit] Just noticed there's a good report about the route and its future development here: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/routes/south/search-gravel-bike-adventures-englands-green-pleasant-land-396116

There's also the Cycling UK article (linked from the Cycling Weekly one) with GPX files. Do note that the GPX files do each leg twice (I have commented to this effect on the Cycling UK article).

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LinusR
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby LinusR » 12 Nov 2018, 5:36pm

Labrat wrote:STW published this over the weekend, with some lovely photos:

https://singletrackworld.com/2018/11/no ... -rat-race/


Thanks for that. Good write up. Those photos make me want to ride it! :D

RickH wrote:Do note that the GPX files do each leg twice (I have commented to this effect on the Cycling UK article).


Yes, I noticed that. When I uploaded the route to RideWithGPS it came out as two routes. Hopefully I can just one of them on to my Garmin and follow it. Having said that, we've had so much rain over the past week that I'm minded to let the trails dry out for at least a week or so.

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Re: North Downs Way

Postby MikeF » 12 Nov 2018, 6:35pm

It seems to me it's pandering to yet another craze, and I don't support CUK's campaign. There's far more that needs campaigning for, and this is a waste of resources.
Looking at the area around Oxted I don't understand why the route uses Oxted station rather than Woldingham. That way the route would remain on the Downs rather than travelling along the vale below.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

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LinusR
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby LinusR » 12 Nov 2018, 7:31pm

MikeF wrote:It seems to me it's pandering to yet another craze.
I think the Rough Stuff Fellowship might disagree with you. Unless you think six decades is a craze. Cycling on bridleways was not allowed until CTC campaigned to change the law. The current campaign to increase access is a continuation of that and many people supported it in response to the recent consultation. What's not to like?

The route around Woldingham you suggested is a good idea. I might investigate it.

Zulu Eleven
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Re: North Downs Way

Postby Zulu Eleven » 12 Nov 2018, 7:42pm

RickH wrote:
LinusR wrote:[edit] Just noticed there's a good report about the route and its future development here: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/routes/south/search-gravel-bike-adventures-englands-green-pleasant-land-396116

There's also the Cycling UK article (linked from the Cycling Weekly one) with GPX files. Do note that the GPX files do each leg twice (I have commented to this effect on the Cycling UK article).


How odd - I'll look into what's happened there and get it rectified

MikeF wrote:It seems to me it's pandering to yet another craze, and I don't support CUK's campaign. There's far more that needs campaigning for, and this is a waste of resources.


Theres very clear demand for improved access to National Trail routes, such as this, as shown by the results from CUK off-road survey with over 10k responses:
_iRDf_wQ.png

Its also worth remembering that this is the very nature of national trails since their inception:
    General provisions as to long-distance routes

    (1)Where it appears to the Commission, as respects any part of England or Wales, that the public should be enabled to make extensive journeys on foot or on horseback along a particular route, being a route which for the whole or the greater part of its length does not pass along roads mainly used by vehicles, the Commission may prepare and submit to the Minister a report under this section.

This was extended to cycles in 1968, so its a pretty long-winded 'craze', in fact the survey data shows us that National trails are disproportionately important for off-road riding - with up to 1/3 of users being on a bike (despite constituting only 2-3% of all countryside visits (MENE data) (and, unlike walkers, about 40% of them riding from home)

Really the bigger question is to begin to analyse why, despite this data, we still only have two of our fifteen flagship National Trails, whose very purpose is to encourage people out into the countryside, fully open to riders

Looking at the area around Oxted I don't understand why the route uses Oxted station rather than Woldingham. That way the route would remain on the Downs rather than travelling along the vale below.

Deliberate due to difficulties with the continuation of the route around Woldingham Quarry & Titsey - Woldingham is great as an idea but more difficult to link Eastwards off-road

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Re: North Downs Way

Postby MikeF » 16 Nov 2018, 8:07pm

Zulu Eleven wrote:Really the bigger question is to begin to analyse why, despite this data, we still only have two of our fifteen flagship National Trails, whose very purpose is to encourage people out into the countryside, fully open to riders
You don't need flagship trails to encourage people into the countryside. There are plenty of roads around and many people including me cycle them. After all it's not the countryside people want but more of a playground. Far more needs doing to enable people to cycle on roads without too much diversionary effort put into trails. They are just diversionary to the real problems of cycling and just pandering to those who want to see cyclists cleared from the roads that important motor cars use.


Mike F wrote:Looking at the area around Oxted I don't understand why the route uses Oxted station rather than Woldingham. That way the route would remain on the Downs rather than travelling along the vale below.

Zulu Eleven wrote:Deliberate due to difficulties with the continuation of the route around Woldingham Quarry & Titsey - Woldingham is great as an idea but more difficult to link Eastwards off-road
If you want a section of off road route Church Road and the BW to Gangers Hill is an option. Then it would be a road section to Clarks Lane, which although a "B" road is very wide (and downhill but not steep :D ) as far as Chestnut Avenue. Having gained all that height why go down to Oxted and then up Pitchfont Lane which is a steep rough track (BOAT)?
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master