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New path near Heath to improve safety for cyclists and walkers

PUBLISHED: 15:41 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 07 September 2010

New road in Spaniards Road

New road in Spaniards Road

A NEW track for cyclists and walkers has been opened along the busy Spaniards Road. Transport for London has spent £100,000 on the 700m path across the top of the Heath and alongside the fast-moving road. Cyclists in Camden have responded wi

Katie Davies

A NEW track for cyclists and walkers has been opened along the busy Spaniards Road.

Transport for London has spent £100,000 on the 700m path across the top of the Heath and alongside the fast-moving road.

Cyclists in Camden have responded with delight to the scheme which will improve routes between Hampstead and Highgate.

Jean Dollimore, from the Camden Cycling Campaign, said: "This has definitely been welcomed by cyclists. The cycleway up at the Heath comes out at Jack Straw's Castle and lots of people use Spaniards Road from there.

"It is a pretty hostile environment. It is narrow and the number of cars per hour is enormous. Fifteen per cent drive at more than 37 mph, so it is not very safe.

"This path will make people feel safer - especially new cyclists who are the most frightened."

Bob Speller organises cycling events for Hampstead Parochial School and hopes the path is a signal of better cycling facilities to follow in the area.

He said: "The more we get for cyclists the better and anything we get is brilliant, but we need more.

"This isn't just being greedy but it is obvious more needs to be done. I do fundraisers for the school with sponsored bike rides and we have to travel 60 miles up the A1 - what is the carbon footprint of all those parents driving up there?

"We need more cycling facilities and they need to be better, like a cycle path around the Heath. I am supposed to get children to cycle to school but to do that we need more than the odd path done."

The new cycleway has been repaved and split into sections for pedestrians and cyclists whereas previously people had to walk along the side of the road.

Transport for London's head of cycling, walking and accessibility, Peter McBride, said: "Hampstead Heath is one of London's biggest, best loved and most beautiful open spaces.

"This new off-road path will help open the Heath up to all users, providing a great new accessible traffic-free cycling and walking route and helping to promote both cycling and walking as healthy, and enjoyable, leisure activities for everyone.

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