Approaching Harwell from the South

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    • #4044

      I live in Newbury and sometimes commute in by road or mountain bike. I’m running into a route planning issue between West Ilsley area and the campus itself when riding a road bike.

      I’ve ridden the gravel track across the farm from the A34 junction but this isn’t really ideal for the road bike.

      How do others deal with getting around the A34 problem and into the campus from the South side?

    • #4045

      I ride in from Didcot, but I’m familiar with all the tracks and bridleways around the Ridgeway and the Ilsleys, and to be honest there isn’t a route from West Ilsley to the campus that I would want to take a road bike on. If you ride up to Bury Down, then to the A34 bridge, the alternatives are the gravel track to the recycling plant and a rather circuitous gravel route to Chilton, or to brave the short section of the A34 itself to the Chilton junction. I have done the latter on my road bike, but it wasn’t enjoyable and I certainly wouldn’t fancy it at peak commuting times, because of the traffic on the exit slip road. There’s a bridleway starting just west of The Harrow that takes you to the Ridgeway near Scutchamer Knob, and from there you can take the track down to Chilton and ride past the school onto campus. but that’s a mountain bike route.
      Sorry if this isn’t more encouraging, but access from the south by bike is very poor and there seems no improvement in sight.

      Chris Hooker

    • #4046

      This has been the subject of several discussions over the years, e.g.
      There was talk of a funded improvement connecting Chilton to Bury Lane but not sure where this has got to recently?

    • #4047

      Cyclists have apparently be asked to not use the track across the farm on the West side of the A34.

      As has been mentioned, there are two other routes I’ve used (not for commuting though).

      From Copperage Rd, W of West Ilsley:
      Have done this on road bike (over and down to E.Hendred a few times) with reasonably robust 32mm tyres, fine in the dry, though there is a rutted section, and flinty gravel. Ridgeway down to EH is decent road – watch out for slippery leaf litter in Autumn.
      One can go down off the Ridgeway towards chilton School – only done this on MTB.

      Via Bury Lane over A34:
      Wide gravel track (E of A34), and then grassy track (both bridleway). Again have done these on a road bike with 32mm tyres (and MTB).

      Not ideal, but you may get used to them…


    • #4048

      Don’t hold your breath re:bury lane to Harwell cycle path. Far too sensible.
      Indeed, don’t hold your breath for the ‘Didcot to Newbury Rail Trail’ I keep saying i’m going to raise funds for and organise…

      Anyway. There is a new-ish option that is passable on a road bike with sturdy tyres. Since Dyson took over the land on Compton Downs they resurfaced the byway from just east of East Ilsley over to Churn Farm/ Blewbury. The very bottom end is left as a track to dissuade cars from using it, but the rest is a tarmac base with some gravel on top. From there, unfortunately, you’re left to battle the A417 to site.

    • #4049

      The A34 ‘Bridge to Berkshire’ Path is a live project and we posted the following update was in HarBUG newsletter in February:

      Highways England have reviewed the proposal for the path from the A34 Chilton Interchange to the West Ilsley Interchange with Kier, the design consultants. They have agreed for the project to go to the next stage. This is good news, although it is still a long way from getting the final go ahead. The next stage is negotiations with landowners and we know that this can stop a project.

      I have asked Kier for a further update ahead of the HarBUG AGM on Wed October 9th. Come along to the AGM to get the latest on this project and other cycle projects in the Science Vale.

    • #4050

      Hi, I regularly use the hard shoulder of the A34 on my road bike and have never had a problem with it. To be honest, I actually feel safer on that stretch than I do on bits of the A417 towards Blewbury, largely because of the fact that there is a decent segregated hard shoulder. I agree its not idea though and would welcome a dedicated hard-surfaced cycle track along the edge of the field.

    • #4051

      Thanks everyone for your feedback. Some interesting options to try once it gets slightly less horrifically moist.

      Good to know that Gravel Track is out of bounds, I got a bit confused by the bridleway combined with private signs. On closer inspection I can see the bridleway goes up left (which I might give a bash at next time).

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