Oxford’s secret cycle paths revealed

Cycle campaign group harness the power of Google Street View to make two traffic-free routes into the city centre easier to discover.

Thanks to a generous donor and the hard work of a local 360⁰ photography expert, Cyclox has succeeded in adding two of Oxford’s car-free walking and cycling routes to Google Street View. Now, for the first time, it is possible to explore these routes in the virtual world before venturing outside. The campaign group hopes this will enable more people to discover an alternative way to travel into the city.

From the inside of a car, cycling along a congested main road often doesn’t look much fun. Additionally, for families, new, and otherwise ‘would-be’ bike riders, cycling along Oxford’s busy Cowley and Botley Roads can often look, feel and be unsafe. One of the things that prevent people from riding a bike is simply not knowing that there are quieter, safer, and more attractive alternative routes.

To encourage more people to cycle into the city centre, more often, Cyclox has utilised Google Street View as a platform to showcase Oxford’s most practical — and beautiful — off-road cycle paths. The first path is located in East Oxford and runs behind Cowley Marsh from Bartlemas Close — through wooded paths and playing fields — to Barracks Lane, leading to Hollow Way. It’s part of National Cycle Route 57 and Local Cycle Network Route 4.

The second path is located in West Oxford and follows a route over the Thames flood plain along Willow Walk; reputedly restored by John Ruskin 150 years ago. It runs from the end of Ferry Hinksey Road to North Hinksey Road (Local Cycle Network Route 8a) and, although it connects to streets just south of Botley Road, the path couldn’t feel further away from the slow-moving traffic towards central Oxford.

Cyclox plans to look into adding more cycle paths to Google Street View, such as those found along the Marston Meadows, University Parks, and other relatively unknown routes like Hinksey Lakes in South Oxford, or along the river from St Ebbes to Gibbs Crescent.

The group’s Chair, Dr. Alison Hill, says: “Cyclox wants our city’s lesser-known, attractive, and quiet routes to be more discoverable, providing a greater opportunity for people to explore and enjoy Oxford. We hope it will encourage residents, commuters and visitors to take fewer journeys by car.”

Moreover, now that local users can easily share these routes, an increase in their usage could demonstrate their potential and a need for infrastructure improvements to be taken seriously by planners, council officers and local councillors.

For further information contact: Dr Alison Hill, Chair of Cyclox, or Andy Chivers on 07931 769484. Alternatively, email Becci Curtis, Cyclox Coordinator, coordinator@cyclox.org.

Notes to editors

  1. Cyclox is the voice of cycling in Oxford. We are a membership organisation and we aim to get more people in and around Oxford cycling, more often, and more safely.
  2. Cyclox is a member of Oxfordshire’s Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT).
  3. The path from Cowley Marsh from Bartlemas Close to Barracks Lane, leading to Hollow Way (part of National Cycle Route 57 and Local Cycle Network Route 4) is available on Google Street View here.
  4. The path from the end of Ferry Hinksey Road to North Hinksey Road (Local Cycle Network Route 8a) is available on Google Street View here.

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