Sustainable Woodstock

We aim to raise public awareness among the residents of Woodstock and beyond on the climate emergency, energy conservation, sustainable travel, waste reduction, recycling, bio-diversity, sustainable economics and respect for the planet. 
We are working with local councils, Woodstock Town Council, local schools and churches, Blenheim Palace, local businesses, the Farmers Market and the Woodstock trade association, Wake Up to Woodstock

Woodstock Safe Routes

Latest News

The inaugural meeting of the Villages Travel Network took place on 25th January 2021.  This page (and two other pages "Sustainable Transport" and "Villages Travel Network") will be rebuilt following the formation of the Network.

Woodstock Safe Routes Project joins forces with other campaigners across Oxfordshire for a default 20 mph speed limit in all residential streets and shopping areas.  Read more here including the groups first press release ....

The government have recently issued advise to all Highway Authorities in the light of the COVID 19 pandemic.  The advise note recognises that in many places “active travel” has increased by 70%, either for exercise, or for safe socially distanced travel.  With the brakes slowly coming off the lockdown and people starting to return to work, they are recommending not to use public transport but, where they can, to cycle or to walk.

With this is mind the government provided up to £2 billion to transport authorities across the UK to work to put in place infrastructure and regulation to provide greater safety for vulnerable road users and to encourage active travel patterns.

Sadly, Oxfordshire's allocation fell well short of expectations.  Our demands for 20 mph speed limits in Woodstock and Bladon fell on deaf ears when the government decided that 20 mph speed limits were not admissable as measures to encourage active travel.  How ridiculous is that?  What other measures better ensure confidence to cyclists and pedestrians than traffic moving at a genertally slower pace.

Sustainable Woodstock expected that much of the funding would be committed to towns and cities where there are most commuter journeys.  But the A44 through Woodstock is a primary corridor for commuting to Oxford and many active travel journeys into Oxford start in Woodstock (and sometimes beyond).  So we are disappointed in both the government's response to Oxfordshire's Active Travel bid and to Oxfordshire lack lustre alternatives.  Here are our reasons for arguing that the A44 through Woodstock and the A4095 through Bladon deserve higher priority:-

The A44 carries some 15,000 vpd, (peak hour flow 1200 vph) of which 7% are HGVs.  The carriageway is:-

The average vehicle speeds vary from under 30 mph in the town centre area to about 32 mph on the hills.

For residents in Old Woodstock in particular there is no alternative route to the schools and the town centre other than to use the A44.

We believe that the case for a targeted 20 mph speed limit over a critically limited length of the A44 is strong and the opportunity that the government’s statutory guidance offers will allow a temporary Traffic Regulation Order to be drawn up with suitable lines and signs at low cost.

Supplementary Measures required include the following:-

1.      Reduction of the current 50 mph speed limit on the A44 between the Bladon Roundabout and the present 30 mph limit.  This 50 mph limit should be reduced to either 40 or 30 mph

2.      Likewise, north of the town, the present 50 mph limit should be reduced between Hill Rise and the first Wootton turning (Stratford Lane) to 40 mph.  This would particularly support cyclists to and from Wootton and other destinations, as there is no segregated cycle path on this fast stretch of carriageway.

Additional cycle racks in the town centre are also required the location of which should be agreed with the Town Council

You can read the full submission to Oxfordshire County Council here and a similar proposal has also been submitted in respect of the A4095 through Bladon

Older News

You can read an Overview of cycling infrastructure needs in the Woodstock area hereThe overview is a response to the "Blenheim Grass Routes" project being managed by its consultants VeloCity

At its first meeting the Sustainable Woodstock Safe Routes Sub-Group agreed that the group's priorities should be:-

Other issues to be pursued to include:-

It was agreed that the way forward would be to establish a continuing dialogue with Blenheim and with Woodstock Town Council, OCC and WODC and keeping in touch with those campaigning groups in Hanborough and Bladon Parish Councils.

New off-highway cycle pedestrian routes from Old Woodstock towards the town centre and towards the schools thus avoiding the busy A44 road

New off-highway cycle pedestrian routes from Old Woodstock towards the town centre and towards the schools avoiding the busy A44 road. 

The A44 carries between 12,000 and 15,000 vehicles per day, some 700 of them HGVs.  Due to the narrow carriageways and footways, both pedestrians and cyclists are extremely vulnerable and feel intimidated.  Despite very low accident figures we believe that the need for an alternative off-highway pedestrian cycle route is overwhelming and that the need precisely matches the County Council's (the Highway Authority) policies on the protection of vulnerable road users and for encouraging more sustainable travel wherever possible.  The proposals have the support, in principle, of Woodstock Town Council.

We propose three routes.  We would wish to see all three routes provided to meet differing needs. 

Route 1 is an off-road route from Old Woodstock across the R. Glyme by a modest timber bridge and thence by the minor road network to the schools.

Route 2 is a similar off-road route from Old Woodstock but heading more directly to the town centre and crossing the R. Glyme near The Black Prince.  From Brook Hill to the town centre still requires a short section on the A44, hence the need for a 20 mph speed limit here.  Alternatively pedestrians and cyclists can use the minor road network to access the town centre.

Route 3 is an off-road route via Blenheim Park.  It would entail a signalised pedestrian crossing of the A44 at Hill Rise, a gate or other opening through the park wall and a cycle/footpath inside the park to meet up with the bridleway park access at the Mill, opposite the Black Prince.  From the Mill to the town centre still requires a short section on the A44, hence the need for a 20 mph speed limit here.  Alternatively pedestrians and cyclists would be able to cross on an upgraded signalised crossing and use the minor road network to access the town centre.

It might be an informal “rural” layout or have a tarmac surface with lighting and fencing

The upgrading of the present pavement between Bladon and Hanborough Railway Station to provide shared facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. 

A section of the route at the west end will require a short off-highway section on Blenheim land and we are hopeful of Blenheim's support with this project.  A longer section within Blenheim Estate land is proposed from Bladon Lodge to The Cowyards to connect into the existing Sustrans Route 5 cycleway alongside the A44.  We are also hopeful of Blenheim's support for this further proposal.  Bladon and Hanborough Parish Councils have offered support for the scheme as has Oxfordshire County Council’s “cycling champion” Cllr Suzanne Bartington.

The scheme requires supplementary traffic management measures through the narrow and tortuous section of the A4095 in Bladon village and we propose a 20 mph limit for this section.

 Traffic Management

It’s not just about building new cycle footways.  Measures are need to better control and manage traffic throughout Woodstock and the neighbouring villages.

We need to provide an extension of the 30 mph speed limit on the A44 from the A4095 Bladon to the present point at which the speed limit starts.  We also need to have the existing cycle footway from the roundabout to Bladon Chain widened and improved, including safer crossing points at the roundabout.

We need a 20 mph speed limit on the A44 in Woodstock Town Centre and it is suggested that it should run from Caroline Court at least to Lower Brook Hill.  A further section within Old Woodstock should also be considered.  The extent of the limit is open to further discussion.

We also need to have the 30 mph on the A44 extended at the northern end of town to incorporate the new access to the proposed Hill Rise development.

And we need to have new and improved signalised pedestrian crossings at these locations:-

  1. On the A44 at “The Cowyards” to accommodate a new bus stopping point and bus bay for the new Park View development at Woodstock South-East.
  2. The upgrading of the exisiting Belisha beacon crossing on the A44 at The Causeway to a full signalised pedestrian crossing
  3. A new signalised pedestrian crossing at Hill Rise fo access to the proposed new cycle footway witin Blenheim Park



See also our page of FAQs on Speed Limits, One-Way streets and HGV Weight Limits

A Safe Pedestrian/Cycle route connecting Woodstock to Wootton, Stonesfield and Charlbury through the provision of a segregated cycle/footway alongside the A44 from Hill Rise to the junction with the B4437 at Judds Garage.

There are four possibilities:-

  1. The Blue route.  This requires construction of a cycle path along the east verge of the A44 as far as the first Wootton turn, then follows the unclassified lane to Wootton.
  2. The Orange route.  This follows the line of the existing public right of way on foot (footpath) from the proposed Old Woodstock development site, direct to Wootton. 
  3. The Green route.  This uses the existing pavement (footway) on the west side of the A44.  It will need substantial improvement to be a viable cycle/footway.  It will need to proceed as far as the junction with the B4437 (at The Duke of Marlborough pub) because a crossing at the first Wootton turn is too dangerous.  A signalised crossing at the B4437 junction is possible and would provide additional road safety at this junction with a long accident history.
  4. The Pink route follows the existing Sustrans National Cycle Network Route No. 5.  It would then need to turn onto an existing bridleway to Milford Bridge and on the Wootton.

The prefered proposal at present is for a combination of the blue and green routes using segregated cycle footways on both sides of the busy A44 north of Woodstock from Hill Rise to the 1st Wootton turning.  From there to the B4437 (Duke of Marlborough pub and Judds Garage) the cycle footway would continue on the west side only.  Access to Wootton from the 1st Wootton turn would be by the existing minor road network (some traffic management measures may be needed on the narrow steep hill at West End Wootton).

This proposal is particularly important for the vitality of the Wootton Primary School that continues to draw pupils from the Old Woodstock catchment area.  An accessible and sustainable walking and cycling alternative will benefit familes with students attending both the Wootton Primary School and the Marlborough secondary school.

We also want to see cycle and pedestrian connectivity between the three development sites (Old Woodstock/Banbury Road/Woodstock South-East (Park View).  Details on this will require development planning details from Blenheim in due course but we flag the issue now to ensure that cycle and pedestrian connectivity is designed into the developments from the outset.

Comments from Group Members and Others

It has been suggested that one problem with the proposed cycle footway within Blenheim Park (Option 3)from Old Woodstock to the town centre is that it involves two crossings of the busy A44.  It may be contingent on the acceptability of Option 3 that signalised crossings of A44 are included at both Hill Rise and The Causeway.

Caution has been expressed that shared use cycle footways can be un-nerving when high speed and inconsiderate cyclists intimidate pedestrians.  This is not a common occurence and is simply bad manners.  It becomes more of a problem where high pedestrian and cycle use occurs.  None of our proposals are likely to have such high useage rates.

The closure of the Library in hensington Road and the closure of the "Box of Delights" local store in Shipton Road have both led to the taking out of service of a number of cycle racks.  Group members have reported this and it is being raised at the six monthly Woodstock Traffic Advisory Committee that meets on 9th October 2019 at 4:00 pm.  We will press the authorities on re-locationg these racks elsewhere in the town.

Other suggestions from group participants for further consideration are:-