National Cycle Network review

We are carrying out a major review of the walking and cycling routes that make up the National Cycle Network.

We want to ensure National Cycle Network routes offer the best experience to the millions of families, commuters and tourists who use them every year.

People cycling and walking, Bristol. Image: J Bewley/photojB

The review will set out a clear vision, purpose and direction for the Network going forward. It will also help to identify new routes and missing links, and secure a long-term strategy for the governance, funding, maintenance and promotion of the revitalised Network.

Key milestones for the review process include:

  • Developing a vision for the Network
  • Reviewing the physical condition of the Network
  • Consulting with stakeholders
  • Developing strategic improvement plans

Tarka trail, people on bikes. Image: J Bewley/photojB

The National Cycle Network is used by an estimated five million people a year and plays an important role in the UK in encouraging more people to walk and cycle. 

We want to build on its success and through this review achieve a network of safe, accessible and high-quality routes and paths that will make walking and cycling easier for everyone, regardless of their age and abilities and inspire a new generation to get on their bikes.

country path with Loch views, Caledonia Way

We are preparing detailed reports on the physical condition of the Network, based on data collected in 2016-17, in order to identify sections of routes that could be improved.

The reports will be launched in November 2018. 

NCN sign on the Bristol to Bath path

National and regional advisory panels, consisting of stakeholders including Sustrans volunteers, are meeting regularly to support the review process.

A UK-wide advisory panel is also meeting monthly to support the successful development of the National Cycle Network, which includes Chris Boardman (representing British Cycling) and senior representatives from the following organisations:

Canal & River Trust, Cycling UK, Department for Transport, Forestry Commission – England, Highways England, National Trust, Northern Ireland Government, Oxford City Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, The Ramblers, Transport for London, Transport Scotland, Welsh Government, Wheels for Wellbeing

People walking, cycling and dog. image: John Linton/Sustrans

A single Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) will be produced for the whole of the UK-wide Network, which will be held by the Sustrans executive team and reported to the Board of Trustees on a regular basis.

Each Sustrans region and nation will also have their own SIP relevant to the Network in their area. Each SIP will contain targets for improvement to the Network in order for it to meet the high-quality standard we want people to experience when using the Network, along with area plans for:

  • maintenance
  • funding
  • community and volunteer involvement
  • promotion

Birmingham city centre, Image:Livia Lazar/Sustrans

There will be different ways for you to get involved in the review and the ongoing development of the Network over the coming months.

In the meantime, why not join a volunteer group on your local route?

Would you like to be kept informed on the National Cycle Network review progress and the local consultations?