New safer path will link villages across common

Cllr Annie Brewster at the entrance to Wheathampstead.

Cllr Annie Brewster at the entrance to Wheathampstead. - Credit: Annie Brewster

A safer route for cyclists between the villages of Wheathampstead and Sandridge will be completed this spring.

The 600m path across Nomansland Common will offer cyclists an alternative to using the busy B651 and enable better year-round, non-motorised transport.

The common has experienced much greater footfall during the pandemic, when fresh air and exercise have been more important than ever.

Nomansland is a haven for wildlife, with locally rare examples of remnant heath alongside wooded areas and meadows which provide an abundance of wildflowers. Loosely surfaced paths protect valuable grassland as people naturally use the path instead of trampling large areas in wet conditions.

The county council is leading the project, supported by St Albans district council and representatives of Sandridge and Wheathampstead parish councils.

Phil Bibby, county cabinet member for highways and environment, said: “I am delighted that this project has now gained planning approval and look forward to the installation happening this spring.  COVID-19 has shown us all how active travel is so important for physical and mental wellbeing and I envisage it will be very well used.”

Wheathampstead and Sandridge county councillor Annie Brewster added: “The B651 is one of the most dangerous roads in our district having seen many fatalities on bicycles or on foot. Only very experienced cyclists dare venture onto this narrow, winding, national speed limit road. 

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“It has long been the desire to have an off road connecting dual use cycle and pedestrian path. The plan is to run the new path adjacent to the roadside ditch so it will not interrupt the open views across Nomansland Common.  I would like to thank everyone involved, including Wheathampstead and Sandridge Village residents for their support for this much sought after path that will create a wonderful connective commuting and leisure corridor.”

Work on the route should commence at the end of March and be completed by the end of April of this year.

The provision of cycling links is a key part of the county council’s Local Transport Plan 4, which aims to ensure that walking or cycling are natural choices for local journeys in the future.