This article was published in 2014, in Newsletter 116.
On a ride out from Cambridge a few weekends ago, I was intrigued to see a sign for a permissive bridleway marked with the logo of the Quarter-To-Six Quadrant (QTSQ). I’d never heard of this, but having found its website (http://qtsq.org.uk) it strikes me that it’s a rather clever initiative by the four parish councils to the west of Cambridge – Barton, Coton, Grantchester and Madingley – to position themselves as the ‘green lungs’ of Cambridge, presumably with a view to forestalling unwelcome future developments. And good luck to them!
As part of this, permissive bridleways have been opened up in co-operation with local farmers – their leaflet (also at http://qtsq.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/wwrr.pdf) is entitled ‘Wonderful Walks and Rural Runs’ but as bridleways they are also open to cyclists unless the landowner specifically withdraws permission. The Joint Vision document http://qtsq.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/QTSQfinalA.pdf (published back in May 2012) does mention the need for better cycle access, but I get the feeling they still assume that driving will be most people’s default option.
The Coton Countryside Reserve already has some decent cycleable routes linking to the Coton Path; however Burwash Manor (www.burwashmanorfarm.com/walks) and the Countryside Restoration Trust’s Lark Rise Farm (http://countrysiderestorationtrust.com) only offer walking routes (Burwash Manor has decent cycle parking, Lark Rise does not). And of course, the Cantalupe Farm route, a very useful alternative to the A10, is not included. I don’t think its owners will ever be interested in cycle access.