Background to the suggestion of a Sustrans Cycle Route through
previous Cookham Plan proposal, now under review, recommended an
extension of the existing Sustrans’ cycle track from Maidenhead
to Cookham, with the plan to continue its course through Cookham
to Bourne End and beyond. The track currently ends at its most
northerly point, at the Strande Lane/Lightlands Lane junction.
There is no official cycle track in Bourne End.
which is an organisation promoting cycling, wants a track to run
northwards into Bucks as part of a plan for a network of cycle
routes throughout the country. An extension from Lightlands Lane
to Bourne End has been discussed with Sustrans in the past.
Although there is no legal obligation to provide such a
route, Cookham attempted to co-operate. However, there were
objections about the potential impact of cyclists upon the
riverside and other amenity routes already widely used by
residents, ramblers etc. Consequently, meetings over several years
between Sustrans, Cookham Parish Council, The Cookham Society, the
National Trust, other countryside organisations and the landowners
have never been able to establish an agreed route. The Ramblers’
Association representatives were unhappy at the prospect of
walkers sharing existing footpath routes with cyclists and issues
have also arisen about the construction of such a cycle track
detracting from the timeless and exceptional natural beauty of the
Cookham riverside landscape.
own specification is for this cycle route to be two metres wide,
with a slightly raised surface (types of surface vary), which
should be separated from both pedestrians and motorists. In
certain conditions which could also apply here, Sustrans recommend
wider, double tracks with a raised division between
new Traffic and Transport Working Group (hereafter called the
Group), three-quarters of whom are keen cyclists, has undertaken
to review the validity of this proposal and look at possible
alternatives to this route and any other ways to help cyclists in
Group examined all the previous proposals as well as carrying out
its own research into potential routes. All the routes start at
the end of the current Maidenhead-Cookham cycle track at Strande
Lane and all terminate at the railway bridge linking Cookham to
Bourne End. The map
at the end of this section of the report shows all the routes.
Green Route is the existing aforementioned Sustrans’ cycle
track, which runs between Strande Lane in Cookham, and
Maidenhead. The other green track shown on the map is an
existing route along Switchback Road.
is the previous Cookham Plan proposed route, which would leave
the Green Route in Strande Lane and continue northwards along
Maidenhead Road, crossing the roundabout to continue up
Poundfield Lane. At the north end of the Lane, the route would
cross Terry’s Lane diagonally to reach the track leading
towards the golf course. Before reaching the golf course, it
would turn eastwards and proceed downhill towards Marsh Meadow
to connect with the Sustrans’ Blue Route (see below and on
map), eventually diverting towards the railway line and running
northwards, parallel to it, until reaching the railway bridge
north end of this designated route remains distant from the
towpath until it reaches the river railway bridge, so would
cause minimal disruption to pedestrians using the towpath. It
would also be largely out of sight to pedestrians and river
users. However, the landowner has raised objections on the
grounds that this area is dedicated as a nature conservation
area and is also boggy, which he believes would make a cycle
is Sustrans’ own preferred route through Cookham, and the
preferred choice of The Cookham Society.
leads from Strande Lane, across the fields near the site of
Strande Castle to Cookham Moor, continuing from the north side
of the Moor and along the existing footpath around the golf
course. From this point, the route diverts to the towpath on the
riverbank, where it proceeds until reaching the railway river
bridge crossing into Bucks.
the Group was informed that no agreement to the plan can
currently be made with the owner of the field south of the Moor,
which means that the Blue Route will contain a gap (dotted in
Blue on the map) until such time that this becomes possible.
is the route from the Moor car park to the river crossing, which
is favoured by the land owner. It runs along the line of an
existing footpath crossing the centre of Marsh Meadow towards
the riverbank, then runs westwards along the entire length of
the towpath from Marsh Meadow to the railway/pedestrian river
bridge crossing to Bourne End.
Evaluation of the routes
in mind Sustrans’ own specification for a cycle route, the Blue
Route could potentially be acceptable. The link between Strande
Lane and Cookham Moor could be established, were it not for the
objections of the owner of the field south of the Moor. At its
northern end, a compromise would be for the cycle track to be
routed behind the pollarded trees parallel with the towpath at the
approach to the Bourne End river railway bridge. This would avoid
the marshy route alongside the railway line, while the riverbank
path would be for the use of pedestrians.
Red Route would not achieve the Sustrans’ specification. The
route is initially along Maidenhead Road, which would also require
cyclists to cross this road, and is therefore not separate from
traffic. The Poundfield footpath is very narrow, is well used by
walkers, and a cycle track would require the destruction of trees
and hedgerows. There have recently been instances of groups of
cyclists riding dangerously fast down the hill of the footpath in
Poundfield Lane, resulting in near-collisions between cyclists and
pedestrians. There are similar potential problems with the section
of the route downhill alongside the edge of the golf course. The
long crossing point across Terry’s Lane, from the end of
Poundfield Lane, is diagonal and uphill, which would be dangerous
for a young family pushing cycles to cross, due to traffic using
Terry’s Lane and a blind bend in each direction. Finally, the
Red Route proposes to follow the railway line, which the land
owner believes is too boggy and is a nature conservation area.
Mauve Route would be likely to produce the same objections from
countryside organisations as did the original proposals.
short, there are problems with all the potential routes, which
would appear to be why no agreement was ever reached.
The Bourne End Link
Group has been in contact with Bucks County Council Footpaths
Officer and Wooburn and Bourne End Parish Council regarding
possible plans for continuation of the proposed Sustrans’ cycle
route from the Bourne End riverside. At present, there are no
plans to establish a cycle track from this point through Bourne
End and the Group was led to believe that, due to lack of
availability of a suitable route, there is little likelihood of
such a link being established in the foreseeable future.
if an extension of the Sustrans’ cycle track was constructed
across Cookham, it would terminate at the river bridge crossing to
the reasons above, the Group proposes that an extension of the
existing Maidenhead-Cookham cycle track should not be pursued at
the present time. This could be reviewed if (a) Sustrans provide a
complete cycle track link from the river railway bridge, through
and beyond Bourne End and (b) if the owner of the field at the
south side of Cookham Moor is willing to allow the track to cross
this area (the Blue dotted route on the plan).
Group is also concerned that a cycle track should only be built if
it does not affect Cookham residents’ enjoyment of the river and
surrounding countryside in being able to feel safe and
unrestricted and allowing children and dogs to roam freely,
without danger from cyclists. It is also recognised that
construction of a cycle track would bring some urbanising,
detrimental changes to the landscape, both through Cookham and by
the riverside and that, prior to any decision on this, the public
should be made fully aware of the potential visual impact.
Group recognises that a Sustrans cycle track is likely to be of
far more benefit to cyclists passing through Cookham, than to
Cookham residents. The Group noted earlier concerns that, once a
track through the village is nationally advertised by Sustrans on
its maps and websites, the volume of cyclists may irrevocably
increase, at the inconvenience of Cookham residents. Another fear,
expressed at a meeting with Sustrans, was that cyclists (who are
often in groups) would be unlikely to stay on the designated track
and would take their own routes along the Cookham riverside, which
is also part of the Thames Path.
Other Cycling Matters in Cookham