This article was published in 2016, in Newsletter 124.
A new section of cycleway extending The Tins cycleway between Romsey and Cherry Hinton High Street opened at the beginning of December. It’s taken a while, but the new path now makes it possible to cycle between the end of Mill Road and Cherry Hinton High Street (by the level crossing) almost entirely off road on some of the better cycleways in the city, at least as far as width and surface are concerned. The new section replaces a very narrow footpath for about 300m west of Orchard Estate with about a 3m-wide cycleway and 2m-wide footway. This isn’t quite what was originally envisaged [http://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/109/article6.html] but follows the same standard as the first section past the Holiday Inn and gym as long ago as 2004 (which almost didn’t happen – at the last minute the city council objected that it should be narrower because cycleways elsewhere in the city were all narrower!). [http://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/42/article7.html http://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/51/article10.html]
A new bridge over the stream at the western end was installed in 2011 (see Newsletter 95) and the path widened from there to the railway bridge. That means there is now just one rather intractable pinch point the railway bridge. The last few metres of the section opened last month are not separated – the city council insisted on a tree preservation order on a really rather miserable specimen, and it continues like this past the adjoining houses. Like the path opposite which links to the end of Railway Street, it is, however, tolerable.
There are numerous plans to improve things further for cyclists around Cherry Hinton, which has one of the lowest cycling rates in the city. These including changing:
- the inadequate traffic calming (though the plans we have seen so far were way short of the mark – see http://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/120/article9.html and http://www.camcycle.org.uk/campaigning/letters/2015/CherryHintonHighStreet.pdf)
- the junctions at each end of the High Street, and along Fulbourn Road.
However we still think there is considerable scope to continue The Tins path alongside the railway as far as the level crossing at Fulbourn Tesco which, with the SE Cambridge route at the other end, could provide an excellent, five-mile-long, continuous quiet route out to Fulbourn.
Oh, and why is it called The Tins? When I first moved to Cambridge, there was a cement works near where the gym and hotel now are -they blew up the chimney a few years later and demolished the huge works which by then had become an owl roost – and then, west of the railway bridge, the path was lined with more-than-head-high corrugated iron sheets (it still is, for part of its length, as can be seen in the photo) and this is where the name came from, I think. It’s likely the old cement works site, now owned by the Anderson Group and still rather contaminated wasteland, will be built on before long, but there aren’t any immediate plans that we’re aware of.