Banbury residents invited to walk this way to wellbeing

Three new walking routes are coming to Banbury as part of the district council’s commitment to improving physical and mental wellbeing in the town.

Published: Tuesday, 18th May 2021

Previously trialled in Bicester through the Healthy New Town initiative, the marked routes are designed to help connect communities and encourage residents to walk or cycle for shorter journeys.

Consultation work is now taking place in Banbury, with the circuits ready to be installed in Grimsbury, Ruscote, Bretch Hill and Neithrop this summer.

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell District Council's Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Providing a safe, well sign-posted route for pedestrians encourages people to walk and discover their neighbourhood, improving mental and physical health along the way. We’ve already seen the popularity of the 5k blue line health walks in Bicester and with the number of users surging during the coronavirus pandemic, we’re excited to bring these benefits to Banbury.”

The project in Banbury is being funded through the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund, which provides financial help to local authorities to reduce the spread of coronavirus and support local public health.

In Grimsbury, the 5K health walk connects St Leonard’s School and the Dashwood Academy to Moorfield Park. There is also a ‘cut through’ enabling people to take in the local shops and doctor’s surgery.

A further two routes in Banbury form a figure-of-eight, running through Ruscote, Bretch Hill, and Neithrop. The northern 5K loop includes William Morris Primary School and Hill View Primary School. The southern 3K circuit connects Princess Diana Park with Stanbridge Park.

Both routes meet around Orchard Fields Community School and St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School, allowing families to choose which circuit to take or to join them up for a longer 6.5K walk.

Children from William Morris School and Hardwick School have already shown their support for the scheme, writing letters including some suggestions as to how to make the routes more appealing.

Carleigh writes: “I believe a colourful path with things such as 2D obstacle course, hopscotch and some fun street art would help it appeal to the younger generation.”

Luke says: “We believe this is an excellent plan to encourage the people of Banbury to exercise more.”

Tom adds: “Having these walking routes around the community would allow families to exercise safely.”

There are plans to make the trails fun and interactive for children, by including imaginative activities to do whilst on the route. Work is still being undertaken to establish exactly how the circuits will be marked, with options including a painted pathway, wayfinding posts and a combination of the two.

To see the proposed circuit in Grimsbury and to offer feedback go to https://arcg.is/0zP15T.

The maps for Ruscote, Bretch Hill and Neithrop are available to view and comment on at https://arcg.is/1jbrbG0