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Halstead 21st Century Group

Wed 21st Dec 2022: On your bike!

Safe cycling was probably the best thing that happened in the first pandemic lockdown, all of a sudden whole families were out on bicycles on streets where the car and lorry had made it impossible. It makes so much sense when we need to help the environment, get fit and keep healthy. In a way we need to return to the 1920s and 30s when cycling was a key form of transport.

The cycleway project to join Coggeshall to Earls Colne and Kelvedon started with a meeting at Marks Hall on the 30/1/2020. The Kelvedon to Coggeshall part is the most difficult to work out and we have talked to landowners on all sides of possible routes. We are awaiting a number of planning applications which could affect possible routes. Coggeshall to Earls Colne is the most developed part of the route. There are two major landowners, Marks Hall and The Essex Business Park, and both have been enthusiastic and helpful partners. In fact it is only because they are permitting us to use their roads that the route is viable. Between the two village centres the route is 6 miles or 9.5 kilometres long and is about 35% completely off road,40% on quiet roads and 25% within the two village boundaries.



Volunteers clearing route between Halstead and Earls Colne

We have worked out most of the route between Earls Colne and Halstead. The developers of the new housing estate at the edge of Earls Colne will allow the cycleway to run between Hayhouse road and the main Earls Colne/Halstead road (A1124) for cyclistsgoing direct from Coggeshall to Halstead. Crossing the A1124 at the level crossing  at the edge of Earls Colne the route will go down Station road towards Colne Engaine and turn left along Elm Hall road. At Langley mill the route will follow the old Colne valley railway track-bed toBluebridge, once the public right of way has been moved off the field margin to the new route. We have cleared this over the winter and it will be a lovely tree lined route. The final safe cycling route into Halstead town centre has not been worked out yet and we are talking to the town council about different possibilities.

Cycle Path Route

The aim is for the cycleway to be open to all; to be a smooth, all weather route and to link three villages, one town, two business parks, a mainline railway station, golf course and the airfield. This will be expensive to pull off as cycle ways can cost upwards of £800k per kilometre. The first part of the cycleway from Earls Colne to Coggeshall will cost somewhere between £1.4 and £1.8 m and we will need grant support from different sources to make it a reality. There will also need to be enthusiastic local fundraising and the two villages at either end are beginning to gear themselves up.

Imagine what it will be like to be able to cycle in relative peace from one end to the other, a total length of 11.8 miles or 19 kilometres, through the heart of rural Essex. We hope you will join us in working to make this happen.

You can make your views known to Braintree Council who have opened a new consultation on transport in the District This concentrates on Braintree town but covers the wider district.