Published: 26th JULY 2019

Why I moved house to be near a cycle path: Sara's story

Sara Ladkani-Knowles, 36, moved house two years ago because of its proximity to the Bristol to Bath railway path – a cycling and walking route which enables her to move around the city.

Sara Ladkani Knowles and her child on the bristol to bath railway path

After having her first child, Sara still uses the path to travel to the shops, park and meet friends locally. We caught up with Sarah to find out why she decided to take the plunge and move location.

Sara said: “At school, I learnt about climate change and the damaging effect humans are having on the planet and this really stayed with me.

"We’re starting to notice the rate of global warming, with regular new stories highlighting the speed at which the ice caps are melting and the increasing number of natural disasters. It worries me and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

“As a family, we’ve made a number of changes to our lifestyle to reduce our impact on the environment. This includes buying veg boxes to reduce plastic waste, bringing our own reusable bags to shops and also limiting the amount of water we use by having shorter showers.

“My husband and I bought a house on the Bristol to Bath railway path so that we could rely less on our car and we use it all the time.

"Before I became pregnant, we used to cycle to Bath regularly as it only takes an hour. It’s such an enjoyable experience because there are no cars to navigate so it really takes the street out of cycling.  

“It’s an amazing place to bring my 13-month-old daughter because it’s away from congested, busy roads and means she’s not breathing in polluted air.

"I take her to the shops in Fishpond and Warmley on the path. She’s not quite up to the ride to Bath yet but we are slowly building up to a trip there.   

“I’m really looking forward to teaching her how to cycle independently on the path when she is older. It’s such a great place to venture to on a day out as there are lots of places you can stop off and it’s great for spotting wildlife. Right near us, there's a damp spot where dragonflies roam and frogs breed.

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I’d say one of the biggest barriers to more families travelling sustainably is how infrequent and unpleasant public transport can be. Blockquote quotation marks

"I can't wait to take her plant spotting, such a huge variety down there.

“I’d say one of the biggest barriers to more families travelling sustainably is how infrequent and unpleasant public transport can be.

"As a mother, I find it hard to find space for a buggy on the bus. This means I have to carry my daughter in a sling but she’s getting too heavy for that now.

“Travelling by bus can also be expensive. It’s £4 where I live which builds up quickly if you’re travelling every day. Combine this with how unreliable public transport can be and it’s no wonder that cars are perceived as more convenient and comfortable.

“If the UK had more cycle paths like the one I travel on, I think more people would consider riding a bike or walking for shorter journeys.

"Bristol is a great place to travel actively but there are gaps in some of the routes which force you out onto busy main roads. If it’s like this in a very cycle-friendly city, I dread to think what it’s like across the rest of the country.”   

Read more about the benefits of cycling for families and children

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