A previous article highlighting ideas for new cycle routes in Wanstead Park generated many ‘lively responses’. Here, Friends of Wanstead Parklands member Gill James reports on plans for a consultation in 2021
The new draft Epping Forest Cycling Strategy aims at encouraging responsible cycling in the forest. Cycling is permitted throughout Epping Forest, with the exception of Wanstead Park. Epping Forest has 284km of shared-use paths, which makes it a great place to explore by bike.
When cycling in Epping Forest, you are asked to follow the cycling code of conduct, which includes the following rules:
- Let people know you are there with a greeting or bell
- Give priority to pedestrians and horse riders
- Approach corners and descents with caution as dogs, wildlife and cattle may cross your path unexpectedly
- Do not race bicycles – this includes digital KOM/QOM ‘chasing’
- Use the existing routes and avoid skidding
Cycling in Wanstead Park
The current regulation forbidding cycling in Wanstead Park is incongruous with the rest of the forest. The Friends of Wanstead Parklands and City of London agree that cycling in the park has become a ‘free for all’ and clearer revised guidelines are necessary. Many lively responses to an article in the September edition of the Wanstead Village Directory showed a majority in favour of more shared-use routes in Wanstead Park.
The City of London has now indicated they wish to move from the current, restrictive model to one which better reflects the time and will develop a separate cycling policy for Wanstead Park. Once various strategies for achieving a more harmonious situation have been considered, consultation with the public will follow in July 2021. This will be your chance to have a say.
The Friends of Wanstead Parklands will be acting as a consultative body with Epping Forest and will suggest three options:
- A shared-use ‘commuter’ route between the Northumberland Avenue gate and the Warren Road gate. This would allow people to cycle straight across the park to the Tube, shops and schools using a hard surface already used by motor vehicles.
- A shared-use circular leisure route on existing wide paths for families to enjoy.
- Allowing responsible cycling anywhere within the park. Complaints about cyclists in the rest of the forest are rare. This would put the park in line with current practice in the rest of Epping Forest, thus avoiding further confusion over which paths are permitted and which are not.