Far From the Madding Crowd

Swans canoodling on the Broad Water.

If you want to explore a newly opened part of Weybridge, simply walk around the new Broad Water path circuit.  The walk is about three miles long and can be accessed in several places.  From the Thames Path at Cowey Sale car park, Shepperton and Thames Path opposite D’Oyly Carte Island bridge, Weybridge.  From Weybridge town centre at Grenside Road (turn right at the St Georges School barrier).  From Walton a couple of hundred metres beyond Walton Lodge, along Oatlands Drive.

The green line indicates the new public footpath alongside the Weybridge Broad Water.

It is not yet completely wheel chair friendly – which is the intention.  But you can cycle around it.  There is one bridge yet to be built but you can easily cycle across the temporary construction.  Two bridges over the Engine River still have steps but just dismount to cross. The western stretch from Grenside to Thames path has two kissing gates so a tandem will not get though.

Engine River Bridge

You have to cross Walton Lane at the western and the eastern end to complete the circuit but both crossings are in or near 20mph limited areas.

Its great for all the family and, for a while at least, it is a well kept secret.

The hidden entrance at the Walton end along Oatlands Drive.

If you have never seen Broad water field you will not be aware that it has goal posts – no jumpers for goal posts as in Churchfields Rec.

 

 

Notice Board for Claygate Village.

A new notice board for Claygate has been erected at the end of Coverts Road today. This was created for the benefit of the local residents (who live some distance from the centre of the village) as well as the many visitors that come here. Since living in this part of Claygate, I have noticed that many pedestrians, riders and cyclists are completely confused where they are in relation to the centre of Claygate when they exit the track at the Holroyd Road end of Coverts Road. The track known as the ‘BOAT’ which has no vehicular access, is used by the public mainly for hiking, running, cycling, dog walking or horse riding. This track links Claygate with Esher and also comes out on Fairoak Lane between Oxshott and Malden Rushett, depending on the route you take. Claygate village centre and train station is some distance from Coverts Road so the new board has a detailed map showing your exact location.

As you stand in front of it, you can clearly see what can be discovered in the surrounding area. There are numerous footpaths and bridleways, flora and fauna as well as directions to the village itself. Claygate is full of restaurants, pubs, cafes and village shops. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside views, walks and rides. It is well worth a day out, whichever mode of transport you choose. With the financial help of Surrey County Council, Claygate Parish Council and with a personal contribution of my own, the board has been created, developed and finally delivered on site today.

Thanks must go to Sarah Kingsley from Eclipse Creative for her patience and wonderful art skills. Also thanks to Elmbridge’s Countryside Officer Dave Page. Dave originally helped me to create the map, adding to my ideas with his in depth knowledge of the local countryside due to both his keen interest and occupation. Dave and his co workers from the Elmbridge Countryside Team put the board in place this morning. Residents will now have the benefit of seeing at a glance what is going on in their village community. Horse riders, dog walkers, cyclists, runners and hikers will find new tracks, wildlife and plants as well as discovering a little about the local history of Claygate. Thank you to everyone that has helped this community idea finally come to fruition.

Please click here to see the map: Claygate Coverts Road Map (004)

Coverts Road Notice Board

Coverts Road Notice Board Claygate

 

Cycling in Weybridge

To reduce congestion we need as many journeys made by cycling as possible. To encourage people to cycle we need residential streets with 20mph limits and main roads with well designed cycling facilities.  Weybridge is no exception.

What does putting cycling first do for us? It helps to reduce crime and congestion and it increases our health and well being. All at minimal cost.

It does not mean that we have to cycle if we are unable or unwilling to do so.  It simply encourages and enables others to so  – reducing our journey times.

We need to follow the Danes, Dutch and others in planning for a safer and more pleasant place to live.

Plans for improving Weybridge

Representatives of the Weybridge Town Business Group (my company is a member) and the Weybridge Society transport panel, which I founded, host a very interesting meeting to which they had visited local councillors of both Elmbridge and Surrey plus a number of officers from both administrations along with representatives of other local interested groups.

Tony Palmer gave a presentation highlighting the strengths of Weybridge and also the weaknesses.  There were a number of issues discussed, cycling provision, upkeep of green spaces, rates, planning class for retail, parking, safety, signage and heavy lorries – to name a few.

The achievement was to get so many people around the table.  Now it is important to ensure that the action points coming out of the meeting are taken forward.

 

Cycling

A number of people gave positive feedback about my piece on traffic in the most recent Focus – but what about cycling said some.

I could not agree more.  In my day job I not only provide, what I believe to be, the country’s best cycle insurance policy but I have campaigned for over twenty years for better cycling provision.  Not just for recreational cycling the like of which Sustrans provide so well, but for day to day cycling in our towns and cities.  We all know that encouraging cycling is good for people’s health and for the environment but even for people who do not take up cycling it reduces congestion.

In these hard pressed times investing providing safer routes for cyclists is probably one of the most cost effective use of government spending.

You can find out more here.

Broadwater Lake

There has been good progress and it is now possible to walk most of the route.   There is some clearance work needed on the western end which the borough is carrying out with its own team.  This should be completed by the Spring.  Phase two involves the county dedicating the path whereby it is officially recorded as a public right of way.  Once this is done the county will erect the official permanent footpath signs. More …

Broadwater Lake

There has been good progress and it is now possible to walk most of the route.   There is some clearance work needed on the western end which the borough is carrying out with its own team.  This should be completed by the Spring.  Phase two involves the county dedicating the path whereby it is officially recorded as a public right of way.  Once this is done the county will erect the official permanent footpath signs.

Broadwater Lake

Following pressure from the Broadwater Lake Society with Focus team the borough’s strategic director, Ray Lee, has begun to bring the interested parties – landowners, tenants, Surrey and other bodies, together to discuss the causes of the delay in implementing the path on the north side and how they might be overcome.  The Walton Bridge project should have a positive impact on the scheme so the timing could not be better.