Cycling in Bath getting even better
1. Two Tunnels
The Two Tunnels Greenway project saw the reopening of two neglected tunnels along the old Somerset & Dorset Railway track (which used Green Park Station as a terminus but was closed in 1966). The new route links central Bath with the southern valleys without all those pesky hill climbs. If you’re approaching from Linear Park, the first tunnel (Devonshire Tunnel) starts near the Bloomfield Open Space in Bear Flat. This tunnel is about half a mile long. There is an open-air section along Lyncombe Vale before reaching the second Combe Down Tunnel which is the UK’s longest cycling tunnel at just over a mile long.
Both tunnels have lights (switched off between 11pm and 5am due to the rare bats) and are dual use for both cyclists and walkers. The Combe Down Tunnel also features a light and sound installation at about the half-way mark – you’ll have to cycle it to find out more! Also, you can see how far you’ve gone by looking down – there are distance markings along the path. After exiting the longer tunnel, you can choose to go left towards the Dundas Aqueduct or carry straight on over the Tucking Mill Viaduct towards Midford and onwards.
The project was run by Sustrans and the Two Tunnels Group, working with B&NES Council. The project was paid for with grants, funds and donations from a variety of sources including the Big Lottery Fund, B&NES Council, Department of Transport and others. The opening of the Two Tunnels was marked by a well-attended community festival fun day on 6 April 2013.
You can find out more about the project and find route maps at www.twotunnels.org.uk/index.html
2. Odd Down Cycle Circuit
The Odd Down Cycle Circuit is B&NES Council’s new 1.5km closed road cycling circuit at Odd Down Playing Fields (off Bloomfield Road/Chelwood Drive), which has been funded by a £600,000 grant from British Cycling. The specially-designed circuit is part of a planned redevelopment of the whole Odd Down site, which will include a new 3G Astro Pitch, improved pitches and new changing facilities.
B&NES Council and British Cycling are working with cycling clubs across the district, including Bath CC, VC Walcot and Somer Valley CC to ensure they can make full use of the new circuit, along with the formation of a new youth cycling alliance club called Sulis Scorpions.
The ‘Soft Launch’ is on 27 April and will be followed by a Festival of Cycling & Family Fund Day on 13 July (see www.feelgoodbath.co.uk/events). There will be opportunities for everyone to participate. Sessions are already being planned for weekly racing, youth sessions, Wheels for All, open session and learn to cycle. For more information, see www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/sport-leisure-and-parks/health-and-fitness/ride-bnes/odd-down-cycle-track
For reasons of safety, the circuit cannot be used outside of sessions booked through B&NES Council. Anyone found using it without permission will be trespassing. The circuit booking link (and availability calendar) can be found at: sites.google.com/site/odddowncycletrack/