Barriers removed from Foss Islands Path

Credit: J Bewley/photojB

Credit: J Bewley

Cyclist going through access controls on a path
11 May 2017

York’s popular Foss Islands cycle and walking path (Route 658) is now open to people with mobility scooters, cycle trailers and larger non-motorised bikes since we relaxed barriers at all entrance points along the route.

Sustrans took out or adjusted a total of 22 barriers at access points to the 4km former railway track, which was once part of the Derwent Valley Light Railway.

It’s great to see the path get busier and transform into a vibrant community space for everyone.

- Mike Babbitt, Head of Network Development for the North of England, Sustrans

The traffic-free path attracts thousands of people every week wanting a quiet space to walk or cycle, or on their journeys to and from school or work, and now allows improved access for people with disabilities and families with trailers or large pushchairs along its full length. 

As well as helping people to cycle and walk to the city’s hospital and Nestle factory, it links Osbaldwick village and the eco-friendly Derwenthorpe development with central York, and its southern section forms part of the popular Way of the Roses Coast2Coast route.

Mike Babbitt, Head of Network Development for the North of England at Sustrans said:

“Foss Islands Path is now open for anyone who wants to walk, cycle or scooter, including larger adapted bikes, trailers and mobility scooters. It’s great to see the path get busier and transform into a vibrant community space for everyone. Traffic-free paths are a fantastic way to help more people to cycle or walk their everyday journeys and choose a healthier lifestyle.”

Joanne Mahon from Get Cycling said:

"Opening up access barriers on routes like Foss Islands path makes a big difference for people who have mobility problems. It gives our clients another traffic-free place to exercise on our cycles, and links to quiet roads for other parts of their journeys.”

Sustrans built the path with the City of York City Council in the early 1990s, when there were concerns about potential anti-social behaviour in the area. Since then, lighting was installed, the path has become busier and incidents are now rare.

As a result of a successful bid to the Department for Transport for funding the City of York Council were able to work with Sustrans to relax the original barriers to allow access for all non-motorised users along the path, and to fund other general improvements to the path.

Sustrans currently maintains the whole length of the path with the help of local volunteers in keeping with its status as a Greener Greenway, a large-scale project to survey, protect and enhance biodiversity along some of the traffic-free sections of the National Cycle Network.

Read our policy position on access controls on paths