Surrey Hills

Round & About

cycling

The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is looking forward to welcoming people back to visit but stress this is not the time to come and enjoy the countryside.

They want to reinforce the Government’s message in the releasing of lockdown measures in the countryside and encourage you to use the greenspaces closer to home and observe social distancing rather than travel distances.

Heather Kerswell, Chair of the Surrey Hills AONB Board comments:

“As we move out of the lockdown period over the coming months we look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“We know you will be keen to return to the Surrey Hills but just for now please stay local! This will ensure we all respect Government safety measures, local communities and wildlife.

“As freedom returns and we embrace a new normal, we will be keen for everyone to come and enjoy the benefits of natural beauty while supporting the local business community who very much need our custom at this time thank you.”

This very slight lifting of lockdown measures will still see many businesses remain closed, particularly those catering for the visitor such as attractions, hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, public toilets etc. The worry for many rural communities is people descending on beauty spots and picturesque Surrey villages making social distancing difficult and therefore increasing the risk of spreading the disease.

Chris Howard, Chairman of the Tourist Board – Visit Surrey added: “Whilst we are all anxious to get back out into the countryside, it is worth bearing in mind that facilities are still very limited due to the coronavirus restrictions. This means a lack of open toilets, and places to get food.

“Plan your outings carefully and get to know some of the amazing places right on your doorstep. Remember, the lockdown rules have only been tweaked slightly.”

Stephanie Fudge, National Trust General Manager for the Surrey Hills reinforced this saying that while the National Trust has been working on reopening plans, the safety of staff, volunteers, visitors and local residents is the priority.

She said: “Any reopening will need to be gradual and phased and visitors’ experience is likely to be different from usual, including the need to manage volume at our pay for entry places. Countryside car park opening will also be phased.”

Surrey Hills AONB has set out some key guidance points for accessing the Surrey Hills over the coming months:

· Keeping yourself and others safe is paramount and we encourage you to adhere to guidance set out by DEFRA in their Countryside Code.

· We are aware that many visitors who love to walk and cycle will have greatly missed the Surrey Hills landscape, the views and the well-known beauty spots. We encourage you to use countryside sites close to your home rather than travelling. Over the coming weeks and months we will see carparks and facilities gradually re-open and we urge you to check before you travel that car parks are open and would advise you away from the more well-known sites which may become congested and therefore difficult to socially distance.

· Please be aware that our local farms are under great seasonal pressures during this time and we would encourage you to respect their needs by keeping dogs on leads and follow all designated foot paths and bridleways to keep yourselves and farm animals safe.

· During the lockdown period, nature has had an opportunity to thrive and we ask you to look after nature by being extra cautious. Please stick to footpaths and bridleways so as not to disturb ground nesting birds and other wildlife.

· We encourage you to continue supporting local during this time of transition and want to highlight all the wonderful products and services available on our doorstep in the Surrey Hills. Take a look at our list of businesses offering home deliveries, online support and services, gifts and inspiration.

 

Click for further information on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Cycle to work day

Karen Neville

cycling

Today is the day to get on your bike and take part in the UK’s biggest cycle community event.

Cycle to Work Day is for everyone whether you haven’t cycled for years or are never off your bike, this is about giving it a go.

Since its launch in 2012, thousands of enthusiastic riders have hit the streets to celebrate everyday cycling – and all you need to take part is a bike, new or old, and the desire to ride.

You can cycle on your own or get your colleagues involved – however you do it and however far you go, it’s all about having fun!
Cycle to Work Day runs on Cyclescheme’s Love to Ride community and even if you’re not taking part in today’s challenge but are interested in getting out on two wheels it’s well worth a look at here Cycle Scheme

The Government scheme allows you to save between 25 and 39 per cent on a new bike for work.

Cycling has experienced a huge growth in popularity in recent years and is a fun and effective form of exercise as well as being great for the environment.

Cycling improves your mental well-being as well as your physical health and helping weight loss. It also promotes better lung health, can help cut heart disease and the risk of cancer and the low impact means it has lower injury rates than running.

Did you also know cycling can help you sleep better, it can boost your brain power and even improve your sex life?

And if all that didn’t give you good enough reasons to give cycling a go then how about it growing your social circle too? Joining a club or group is a great way to make new friends and share a common interest too.

Say hello

Do you tend to pass horse riders on your journey? Read about the scheme that has been introduced to Surrey Hills to help cyclists, horses and their riders get along

Festival of cycling

Karen Neville

cycling

Cyclist all over are gearing up for this year’s Wallingford Festival of Cycling

When three dads set up a cycling club for talented 16-19 year olds in Wallingford in 2014, little did they know the chain of events that would follow.

A year later, they went one further and the town’s very own cycling festival was launched attracting more than 3,000 people and gaining a starring role on TV in what else but Midsomer Murders when the race featured in Breaking the Chain.

But ‘stardom’ aside the real aim for the festival is to be a celebration of cycling, encouraging more people to get on their bikes more often.

The festival begins on Friday, 12th July with the dual track course testing riders on speed and handling skills as they go downhill, over jumps, rollers and bermed corners and is suitable for anyone aged 5 and over with a mountain bike or scooter.

New to the festival this year is the Dirt Factory air bag for bike stunt jumps – check out the video on the website to see this in action, but it’s sure to attract a few daredevils!

Saturday 13th includes these as well as wheels for all taster sessions and pump track competitions. Sunday 14th is the day for all the rides with distances ranging from 13 miles to 100 miles to choose from. If you’re new to cycling or want to ride as a family then try out the five mile festival fun ride and if it’s cycling of a different type or to be precise from a different era you want to try out then how about learning to ride a penny farthing?

Find out more

For more details, entry information and costs, visit the Wallingford Festival of Cycling website

 

Get into gear

Karen Neville

cycling

Join Wokingham Bikeathon on 30th June and take on 15 or 35 mile route

This year’s Wokingham Bikeathon on Sunday, 30th June, is literally bigger than ever – in addition to the 15-mile route, there’s a 35-mile challenge for riders to take on as well.

The new relatively flat route should be an easy ride and at an average speed of 12 miles per hour, should take about three hours to cycle.

This longer distance builds on the success of the bikeathon which started in 2008 with just 143 riders – since that time thousands have taken part with the invaluable help of volunteers, local businesses, charities and organisations.

Run by a committee, headed by Wokingham ‘champion’ Stan Hetherington the original aim was to get people out on their bikes and enjoy the local area, over the years it has developed into a vehicle for fundraising with many charities benefitting.

Money from entries each year goes back into the event for the following year with any surplus after covering bills going to good causes.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities are welcome to saddle up, with many cycling as families. For these the 15-mile route is perfect, it provides the quietest route for families, is easy and should take around 60-90 minutes to complete. There is a drinks stop at 9.3miles with snacks available too.

Over the years it has developed into a vehicle for fundraising with many charities benefitting

Course split points will be used to highlight where the route divides between the 15 and 35 mile courses. For those taking on the longer distance, there’s a drinks stop at 19 miles.

Registration is open now for those wishing to do so online but you can just turn up at Cantley Park on the day.

Get involved!

For all the important information you need to take part and to register in advance

Be nice, say hi!

Karen Neville

cycling

Visitors to the Surrey Hills are encouraged to “Be Nice, Say Hi”, as the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) adopts the joint campaign to help cyclists and horse riders to pass safely.

Cycling UK and The British Horse Society (BHS) joined forces to launch a consideration and courtesy awareness message of Be Nice, Say Hi to help users to pass safely last summer, as they believed better advice was needed for people cycling to understand how to overtake horses safely.

The Surrey Hills AONB is the first area in the south east to take up the initiative. Board director Rob Fairbanks said: “The campaign is particularly relevant in the Surrey Hills due to proximity to London and increased recreational pressures. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Cycling UK and the British Horse Society to raise awareness of shared access in our landscape and respecting the rights of all users.”

Lovers of the outdoors will soon notice the discreet message of Be Nice, Say Hi appearing on signposts across the region, however for more detailed information the charities have produced a downloadable leaflet and two short films.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Every time a cyclist encounters a horse, there are three brains involved: the cyclist’s, the rider’s and the horse’s. Many people aren’t familiar with horses, and there can be confusion on what they should do when overtaking on a bike. Cyclists may already know to pass wide and slow when it’s safe to do so – but they could still startle the horse unless the horse and rider are made aware of your presence.

“Generally, if a cyclist startles a horse, it is due to simple lack of awareness that a horse needs more time to react, which is why Cycling UK is pleased to be helping the BHS promote the consideration and courtesy message of Be Nice, Say Hi and is delighted to see it adopted in the Surrey Hills.”

Horses can react quickly when startled, so the two charities are encouraging cyclists to drop their pace and call out a greeting, giving the horse and rider time to react before overtaking wide and slow. By alerting the rider and horse to their presence, cyclists run less risk of the horse reacting, and reduce the risk of injury – not just to the rider and their horse, but also themselves.

Mark Weston, director of access at The British Horse Society said they were thrilled to see the area adopting the message.

He said:  “As vulnerable road users, horse riders, carriage drivers and cyclists face considerable dangers on our roads and the need for safer off road riding opportunities has never been greater.

“By promoting the courtesy and awareness message of Be Nice, Say Hi in the Surrey Hills (AONB) we hope that more riders and cyclists will have the confidence to pass one another comfortably and safely.”

The first sign was symbolically put up close to Mane Chance Sanctuary in Compton, Surrey. Founding trustee and actor Jenny Seagrove was pleased to see the campaign gaining traction in the area and hopes to see it taken up across the country.

She said: “The welfare of horses is at the very heart of what we do at Mane Chance Sanctuary and I think the Be Nice, Say Hi campaign should be applauded for considering the needs of both horses and humans as they share our beautiful countryside.”

Read about bike week

Bike Week 2019 has just passed, but why not get inspired to get back on the saddle while we still have long evenings?

Big pedal

Round & About

cycling

Don’t be surprised if on your way to work or school this morning you see many more children than usual on their bikes, scooters or just walking. 

Today, Monday 25th March, marks the start of the largest inter-school cycling challenge inspiring pupils, parents and staff to choose human power rather than motor power for their journey to school.

The Sustrans Big Pedal, will run (why not give that a try too) from today until Friday, 5th April, and for the first time walking will be counted as well as cycling and scooting.

Primary and secondary schools will battle it out daily to see which one can get more of their pupils, staff and parents using human power – the school’s best five days will determine the final position.

Aside from the obvious health and environmental benefits of cycling, walking or scooting to school, there are also daily prize draws for rewards if more than 15% of your school cycle, walk or scoot on each day of the 10-day challenge. Prizes include scooters from lead sponsor Micro Scooters, Goodordering school bags, Frog bikes and cycle and scooter racks from Broxap.

There’s also the chance to be superhero for the day using your human power with the fancy dress day to celebrate the finale of the Big Pedal – encourage everyone at school (teachers too!) to dress up for the day and decorate your scooter too with a “bling your ride” session. Why not make it a fundraising event too? All money raised for Sustrans helps enable thousands of children to cycle, walk and scoot every day, aiding every one to enjoy a healthier, happier and safer journey to school.

Find out more at www.sustrans.org.uk 

Make sure, if you are on your bike or even your scooter, you’re wearing a helmet. Find out more and about a great charity promoting just this.

Cycle Safely

Round & About

cycling

More and more of us are cycling, but are you wearing a helmet? A Reading-based charity is encouraging everyone to Cycle-Smart.

Cycling is a great way to get fit, not to mention the benefits to the environment and the number of children and adults getting on their bikes has increased.

But are you getting on your bike and wearing a helmet? Often considered uncool, they are quite simply lifesavers and one charity is out to promote the importance and benefits of wearing one as you cycle.

The Cycle-Smart Foundation in Reading is committed to saving lives through the promotion of safer cycling, and helmets in particular. The award-winning charity was founded in 1998 by paediatric nurse Angela Lee who through her work saw the devastation head injury can cause, not just to the child but to the whole family.

Helmets have been proven to be effective in reducing potential brain injury and the charity works with parents, teachers, police, road safety officers and healthcare professionals to get this message across. Children’s skulls are thinner than an adult’s and their heads are bigger in proportion to their body, making them top heavy so if they do fall they are more likely to fall head first.

There are a few ‘rules’ to follow when fitting a child’s helmet:

• It should sit snugly and be comfortable to wear
• The helmet should remain secure when the child shakes or nods their head
• The rim should sit on the forehead, just above the eyebrows
• The helmet should not be tilted backwards leaving the forehead exposed and should not be worn too far forward as to cover the eyes
• Straps should not be twisted and there should be no slack in them
• Ensure the helmet does not affect the child’s ability to hear
• Cycle helmets have a use by date on them – a little known fact

Angie says: “Cycle-Smart educates children to understand the importance of their brain and that it is the body’s computer/games console, meaning it’s responsible for speech, feeling/touch, sight, hearing and more. Surprisingly, head injury can follow a low speed accident and not just high speed or impact as you may presume. The use of a helmet may dramatically reduce the injury sustained. We often get sent photos of damaged helmets from people who have been in a cycling accident and they say the helmet saved their life.”

Cycle-Smart go into schools to teach in peer groups, finding this the most valuable method to change attitudes towards helmet wearing, with pre-teens and teens the hardest to reach group as much of their decision making is swayed by image, peer pressure and the need to blend in.

“Through our programme we help to empower them to make an informed choice about their physical safety. We survey the children and young people who have attended our programme and many have reported back to us how they now wear a helmet and also encourage the rest of their family to as well,” says Angie.

Cycle-Smart has been chosen to benefit from the Co-op Community Fund this year. Go online to www.coop.co.uk/membership and search for Cycle-Smart Foundation.

For more information visit cycle-smartfoundation.org

Cycling golfers!

Round & About

cycling

Golfers’ cycling challenge to tee up funds for Against Breast Cancer 

A group of golfers are swapping their clubs for bikes to cycle 200 miles to help raise funds for Oxfordshire-based charity Against Breast Cancer. 

Starting in the early hours of Saturday, 6th April, five intrepid golfers and their support team will ride from Royal Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire to Woburn Golf Club in Buckinghamshire, giving themselves just two days to complete the challenge before sunset the next day. 

The Las Ratas de Grendon golf society raise money each year for the charity through their annual golf tour to Spain and this year decided to add the cycling challenge finishing the day before they fly off. 

Team member Neil McCrorie says: “There will be five of us riding, ranging from ages of 29 to 59 with a wide range of cycling experience so it will be a difficult challenge for us.” 

The team have already raised £1,400 before they set off or embark on their golf tour. Over the years they have donned fancy dress while on tour, surprising many generous members of the public. 

Fellow rider Michael Vaill says: “It’s going to be tough but nothing compared to the challenge that so many have to battle against every day. Riding in memory of our mums, wives and family members who have been lost to this terrible disease.” 

Against Breast Cancer raises vital funds for research into the secondary spread, the main cause of breast cancer deaths. 

Breast cancer is the most common form of the disease in the UK with more than 55,000 women diagnosed every year. 

Las Rats de Grendon have set a target of £2,000 for the ride. 

Sponsor them at www.justgiving/fundraising/las-ratas-de-grendon-golf-society

See how they get on over the April weekend on their Facebook page