FARMING MATTERS: Cycle routes are a better investment than HS2

Cycling on Waddesdon Greenway. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt
Cycling on Waddesdon Greenway. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

Since the beginning of the year I’ve had my eyes opened to a new side of Aylesbury that I wasn’t aware existed.

I’m talking cycle ways.

Now the proud owner of an ebike I am out and about on it all the time for local journeys of anything up to 25 mile return trips and through it I have discovered I can ride for the majority of the time on a cycle way.

As the roads are so incredibly dangerous, filled with traffic and potholes, that’s a big plus.

But over the weekend I found something even more delightful, the Waddesdon Greenway, a two and a half mile traffic free route for walkers and cyclists.

Maintained by volunteers, this peaceful, wide greenway was opened last summer and traverses through farmland, starting from the Aylesbury Vale Parkway railway station and ending at the bottom of the car park at Waddesdon Manor.

Cycling along this route (and thankful for the battery on my ebike as it inclines upwards for most of the journey towards Waddesdon), I silently thanked the landowners and farmers whose land flanks either side of the track. After all, they are allowing total strangers to access their work space every single day, trusting us not to drop litter or do anything to harm their business environment.

It was a pleasant interlude to be able to ride in peace and solitude as, ironically, I have found that most of the cycle routes I am using are in town and whenever I stray out onto the outskirts and into the countryside, the cycle ways end and I have to resort to using the roads.

I understand that Aylesbury Vale District Council is committed to making the town a cycle friendly place, and many cities have been doing the same in recent years.

But I would like to see this cycle friendly attitude extend further across the whole country, so that all the places we go can be safely linked.

Perhaps instead of building the nonsensical HS2, the government should have considered cycle ways as a better way of getting traffic off the roads. In this way, more people could use bikes instead of cars for local journeys, clearing the roads for traffic going longer distances. And far less land would be taken from farmers to create cycle routes than that which has been taken for the building of HS2.