Nightingale makeover for Bicester’s blue lines

Residents living in Bicester West can once again follow their 5k health route after work has been completed to repaint a missing section.

Published: Monday, 20th April 2020

Essential pavement resurfacing this winter had slurried over a 2 kilometre stretch of the blue line, to the west of the town. But last week (Tuesday 14 April), Cherwell District Council drafted in contractors to re-paint the missing section, utilising the same batch of blue pigment as used for the road markings for the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL in London. 

Significant touch-ups were also made to parts of the North East Bicester route, including along Skimmingdish Lane, as part of the seasonal maintenance work. 

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “Refreshing the blue line health routes shows Cherwell’s commitment to the Healthy Bicester project, helping residents to look after their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Over 25 years, it is estimated that for every £1 spent on installing and maintaining the health routes, £2.10 is saved by the NHS by keeping the community active.” 

Originally painted in 2017, the three blue line health routes were installed as part of the NHS Healthy New Town project, designed to help residents become more active. Initial funding from the NHS ceased in 2019 but Cherwell District Council has committed to continuing the Healthy Bicester programme and expanding a similar scheme to Kidlington and Banbury. 

Cllr McHugh continued: “Whilst staying at home is the most important thing we can do at the moment, the blue line is a real asset for those looking to take a daily dose of local exercise. The circular routes can be joined at any point and even walking a portion of the trail can offer significant health benefits.

“Just remember to adhere to social distancing measures whilst out and about, by keeping 2 metres away from others.”

For residents wanting to keep track of their daily exercise routine on the blue lines, the TGO Activate app is available to download, logging time and distance covered as well as converting the data into calories burnt. The app can be downloaded ahead of time or by scanning a QR code found on signs located close to the kilometre marker points on the routes.

Residents can also find a range of health and wellbeing opportunities at Cherwell’s new online activity hub. For more details go to www.cherwell.gov.uk/activity-and-wellbeing-hub