CySy Campaigns & Projects
At Cycle Shepway, we believe cycling is cool and it’s green, healthy and economic. It is environmentally sound, healthy, and cheap; journey times are more predictable, and parking should be easier. What’s more, cycling as a form of everyday transport, as well as a form of recreation, is fast increasing in popularity across the UK. That’s why CySy has been campaigning to improve the cycle infrastructure in our area.
The Shepway coast, with its chalk cliffs, fishing ports and beaches, coastal park, traditional tourist resorts, wide sandy beaches, and the huge expanse of the Dungeness shingle bank, continues to be a popular attraction for tourists as well as being a greatly appreciated amenity by local residents.
The coast also provides easy access to Romney Marsh with its historic churches, beautiful villages and great pubs. Both the coastline and the marsh are ideal for cycling, being flat and in one of the driest parts of the country. The distances involved are ideal for leisurely day trips around the Marsh, or regular commuting between neighbouring settlements.
Although there is still a lot of work to do, we are pleased to say that we have had a number of successes in gaining support for cycling and improving cycling facilities in the area. These are some of the projects we have initiated:
The Cinque Ports Cycleway
‘The Cinque Ports Cycleway’ is the name we have given to our ambitious vision for a cycle route that will connect the historic Cinque Ports along the south coast of Kent.
We have received a great deal of support for this initiative from both Folkestone & Hythe District Council and Kent County Council. Gradually the cycleway is being implemented at a relatively low cost, with funding provided by Kent County Council. The Cycle Shepway plan for a route along the seafront was adopted by Shepway District Council (now Folkestone & Hythe DC), and this was recorded in page 10 of the minutes of the meeting on March 20th, 2013:
‘Back the plan for a high-grade cycle and pedestrian coastal route from Folkestone to Dungeness to be called the Cinque Ports Cycleway, as proposed by Cycle Shepway in a petition delivered to SDC, KCC, the Ministry of Defence and the Environment Agency by Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe’; Motion was carried.
When complete, cycle path will link up with the Sustrans Cycle Network, the National Coastal Path, the proposed Military Canal path and open up routes inland to the quiet lanes of Romney Marsh, Ashford and the Elham Valley. In due course, the Cinque Ports Cycleway will allow cyclists to make a variety of circular tours that are more popular with leisure cyclists than ‘out and back’ trips. Such a route will also be advantageous to residents, businesses and visitors.
There are clear benefits to a coastal cycle route here. The cycle route will enable commuting, school and other trips to be made by bicycle, helping to promote a healthier lifestyle and reducing traffic on the roads. Because of the de facto existence of a suitable path for much of the route, Cycle Shepway believes that a joined up coastal cycle route between Sandwich and Hastings could be implemented quickly and at relatively low cost.
Beyond this, the bigger-picture opportunity will be to create an official cycling route that links the Cinque Ports Cycleway to the other coastal towns on the Isle of Thanet as well as those in Sussex.
Download a copy of the ‘Draft Study of the Proposed Cinque Ports Cycleway 2013’ by Joe Grey here
Progress on the Cinque Ports Cycleway
The first stage of the route will connect the length of Shepway’s coastline with a cycle route from Folkestone Harbour to Dungeness and then inland to Lydd. Like the safe and scenic coastal cycleways of North Kent and Nord Pas de Calais, a dedicated cycleway from Folkestone to Dungeness would help to put Shepway back on the tourist map as a destination attraction for cyclists, be they long distance riders or a family with bikes on a day-trip from London.
With the completion of sea defences between Folkestone and Sandgate and St Mary’s Bay, we realised that a largely traffic-free route had become possible along most of Shepway’s coastline. The cycle route from Folkestone to Lydd will pass within 2km of about 80,000 people – roughly 80% of the population of Shepway. New developments in Folkestone, and Hythe could increase this number by several thousand, and will add further traffic to the A259 and access roads in the area.
Implementation work is proceeding and the route is now cyclable all the way between Folkestone to Hythe and along the Dymchurch Road (A259) as far as the pedestrian crossing at Nickolls Road to the new development at Martello Lakes.
Phase 1: Folkestone Seafront to Sandgate Esplanade
This links between Marine Parade, Folkestone along the existing seafront access gangway, all the way to Sandgate Esplanade. KCC completed and opened this section early 2017.
Phase 2: Sandgate Esplanade to Hythe Promenade
Sandgate Esplanade links via the existing seafront access gangway to the shared footway at Sandgate Esplanade, where the route joins the NCR2 cycle route. Work along Sandgate Esplanade included the installation of a new zebra crossing, carriageway resurfacing, relocation of benches and installation of signs and bollards. KCC completed and opened this section in late 2017. NCR2 follows the existing shared path along Princes Parade, which connects to Hythe Promenade, then continues along Hythe Promenade up to Hythe & Saltwood Sailing Club.
Phase 3: Hythe Promenade to Reachfields (not constructed but cyclable)
KCC have not installed this section of the scheme, we are currently consulting with Hythe Town Council and are hoping for their approval to continue the cycle route across Hythe Green.
Phase 4: Reachfields to Nickolls Road on Dymchurch Road (completed and opened in part)
The section from St Georges Place to Nickolls Road has been installed and KCC are hoping to construct the section from Reachfields to St Georges Place in 2020.
Phase 5: Nickolls Road to the Dymchurch Redoubt (work on hold due to lack of funding)
Outline design in place but currently no funding to continue with the scheme.
Further funding is required for completion of the section across Hythe Green. Construction of phase 5 for a dedicated cycle lane between the Dymchurch Road footpath (south side) and the adjacent MOD land, has been agreed with Kent County Council and the MOD. However, frustratingly the funding has dried up for this next section. We understand from KCC that this phase will require funding in the region of a further £1.0million.
KCC Drawings of the Folkestone to Dungeness Route described above are available here
A copy of the Cinque Ports Cycleway Feasibility Study 2014 is available here
Our campaign continues to get this cycleway completed. Once the route reaches the Redoubt, the rest of the route is mostly already in place, and will use the newly-constructed sea wall coastal defences to Dymchurch, and the existing footpath beyond that to Dungeness. When complete, the route will provide 20-mile seafront cycleway from Folkestone Harbour to Dungeness, a high grade recreational facility for visitors and residents alike that will boost health, tourism, transportation and the Shepway economy.
However, there is still much work to be done to complete the whole route. This is our list of priorities for resolving issues on the next stages of the Cinque Port Cycle Route in order of need, rather than in a linear, geographic progression:
- Nickoll’s to Dymchurch Redoubt
- New Romney to Lydd
- St Mary’s Bay to LIttlestone
- Littlestone to New Romney
- Hythe Green area (Sailing Club and The Duke’s Head to Reachfields)
- Littlestone to Greatstone to New Romney
- Greatstone to Dungeness
- Dungeness to Lydd
- Getting between New Romney and Lydd is impossible unless you’re happy to share a winding narrow road with 60mph traffic
- Hythe Green (although at least there is a physical way of getting around the green, or (unofficially) across it)
Download a copy of the Cinque Ports Cycleway Advocacy Brochure 2017 here
Other CYSY Campaigns & Projects
At Cycle Shepway we appreciate that often the smallest change can make a big difference in making a cycle route safer and more complete. So as well as the big-picture vision for the Cinque Ports Cycleway, we are also involved in many smaller-scale initiatives to improve cycling locally.
Here is a list of the current CySy Campaign Initiatives:
- Support for Ashford’s proposal for the extension of the cycle route west along the Military Canal
- Working with Kent County Council and Folkestone & Hythe District Council to produce a map of all cycles routes within Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh
- A ramp from the Castle Street car park in Sandgate to connect to the promenade cycle route (also good for wheelchairs and pushchairs)
- Add a gap for cyclists to the speed bumps along the Country Park/Lower Sandgate Road
- Ditto by the Canal in Hythe
- All access paths to the Lower Leas to be bike/wheelchair/buggy friendly
- All maps on Upper Leas to show cycle paths and bus stops
- Re-route the Sustrans Route 2 away from the playground in the Lower Leas Park
- The cleaning of the mud from roads at Shuttlesfield, in the neighbourhood of the Cat and Custard Pot pub
- Improvements to the new seafront cycle route at the car park by the Lees lift and better signage
- Encouraging walking and cycling to school, for example through the introduction of more ‘school streets’. Pioneered in London, these are areas around schools where motor traffic is restricted at pick-up and drop-off times, during term-time. They can be effective in encouraging more walking and cycling, particularly where good facilities exist on routes to the school and where the parents, children and school are involved as part of the scheme development.
Potential ‘Quick Wins’
Below is a list of suggestions for some ‘quick wins’ to benefit cyclists in Folkestone and Hythe.
Most of these proposals should be quick to achieve and relatively cheap to implement. They would link up existing or approved cycle routes to provide a more coherent network of safe routes every-day, urban cyclists.
Those involving schools/railway stations/shopping centres/places of work etc should be prioritised. All of these suggested routes are included in the Shepway Cycle Plan adopted by the KCC/SDC Joint Transport Board in 2011. This document is included in the latest draft of the PPLP currently in preparation.
- Cherry Garden Avenue to Radnor Park via off-road route through the Three Hills Sports Ground, Cornwallis Avenue, Wilton Road: This safe, mainly off-road route links Cheriton with Cornwallis Avenue, Radnor Park, Folkestone Central Station etc. It connects with the Harvey Grammar School (back entrance), Three Hills Sports Centre, Morrison’s Supermarket (via new car-free back entrance), the new Folkestone Central Cycle Path and Toucan crossing on Cheriton Road, the Academy (via Cornwallis Avenue), Folkestone Sports Centre and Radnor Park. Part of the route (Morrison’s to Cornwallis Avenue) has recently been resurfaced. The cycle path through the Three Hills Car Park is already clearly marked (white lines and stencils). ACTION NEEDED:Signage at three entrances to the Three Hills Sports Ground and along Wilton Road to Radnor Park; possible resurfacing of path from Cherry Garden Avenue to Three Hills Sports Centre.
- Radnor Park: Radnor Park is an exceptionally useful hub for cyclists. The inner of the two wide paths that encircle the entire park would be ideal for dual use. A few cycle stands have already been installed here. ACTION NEEDED: Dual use signage/stencils and a dropped kerb with associated one-car-length no parking lines at Wilton Road/Radnor Park junction; maybe also additional cycle stands convenient to the children’s play area and café.
- Churchill Avenue (west): Extend the existing Churchill Avenue cycle path from the corner of Park Farm Estate to Links Way, using a short redundant stretch of the old A20. This cut-through also links with existing cycle paths on the Park Farm Estate (via the wide path that runs down past Wickes to the Sainsbury’s roundabout. It also links with the Academy via its Kingsmead entrance. ACTION NEEDED: Signage, dropped kerbs and widening of path where it narrows for a few metres at its junction with Links Way.
- Churchill Avenue (east): Extend the existing cycle path at the eastern end of Churchill Avenue via Hill Road to link with NCR2.
- Shorncliffe Road: Create new link along Shorncliffe Road from the existing on-road cycle path near Folkestone West Station to the junction with the recently completed north-south dual use cycle path at Earls Avenue (leading to the Leas). (NB: See also note below about resurfacing)
- Cherry Garden Avenue: From the traffic lights at the north end of busy, dangerous single-lane Cherry Garden Avenue, install dual use signs on the existing footpath (dropped kerbs are already in place) to its junction with Cherry Garden Lane.
- Tesco to Hawkinge: Extend the existing cycle path at Shearway under the motorway to link into the trackway between the Tesco roundabout and Castle Hill to create an upgraded link with Hawkinge.
- The Military Canal Path NCR2 below Port Lympne: The path surface has sunk in various places and fill with water, mud, and broken twigs and branches in wet gale ridden weather These are often hard to see and can easily dismount an inexperienced rider. These depressions need filling and leveling. In dry weather, such as now, they are not a problem, as there is no mud and obstacles can be seen. This is a busy route for commuting and leisure. It is marked as HE317 on the online rights of way map.The Military Canal Path NCR2 between Seabrook and Twiss Rd, Hythe (HB65): The grit surfaced bridleway also has depressions which fill with water in wet weather, which need repair. The route here is busy with people on foot and cycling, both for leisure, commuting and going to the supermarket in Hythe.
- In addition to the suggestions listed above, some existing cycle paths are badly in need of repair, for example: The cycle path under the railway line that links Cheriton Road with Shorncliffe Road, and the road surface and markings on the existing Shorncliffe Road cycle path.
Please help us to complete our vision
We have taken the first positive steps and we are making it happen. The first phases of the route along the Shepway coast opened in 2018 and are being enjoyed by huge numbers of people of all ages.Now we need you to join us to help complete our vision – please join us in making Kent more accessible to more people by extending our cycle network and creating opportunities for enjoying new cycle routes.
If you are interested and would like to contribute in any way to our on-going campaign please refer to the CONTACT page on our website.