Campaign Theme

Off-Road Access


Off road
Off road
Rights of way in the countryside, forest trails, paths along the coast, seafronts, canal towpaths, the riverside, former railway lines and routes through parks or other green spaces, can all offer an attractive, motor-traffic free environment for cycling either for recreation or a utility journey.

Towpaths, promenades and parks can form valuable routes and links, offering a useful complement to the road network for cyclists. Coastal paths and forest trails are also excellent settings for cycling, from extreme mountain biking, to days out for the family. Many off-road opportunities like this are already open, but it would be good to see far more of them.

Likewise, only 30% of the Public Rights of Way network in England and Wales is available for cycling. It is often fragmented and incoherent, and the legal status of some paths seems arbitrary (some footpaths, for example, are better for cycling than some bridleways).

Complex processes usually apply whenever there are proposals to make a path legally available to cyclists, but in Scotland the Land Reform Act 2003 gives the public, including cyclists, lawful access to most land and inland water, provided they obey an access code. Adopting this approach for the rest of the UK would be a welcome boost for cycling.

To make sure that they are well used and usable for cycling, all routes away from the roads should be well signed  and publicised. Good maintenance (e.g. clearing obstructions) is also important.



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