01 February 2021
To the Editor,
I am writing in response to a letter sent in by Robin Beuscher, titled “An Environmental Disaster?” and published in your December issue. Leaving the debate over the survival of the steam train for another time, my immediate interest lies in his very wise and reasonable argument for a bicycle route that would link Swanage, through Harman’s Cross and Corfe Castle, all the way to Wareham.
I have recently come to live in Swanage after many decades in Canada where I was fortunate to live in many places that had bike paths. Cycling became a healthy way of life, not merely for recreation. So I was very disappointed to realize that cycling here was uncommon and, it seemed, primarily due to the dangerous nature of the roads leaving Swanage.
On asking other cyclists, I found there are, indeed, no safe routes to Studland or Wareham. However, there is a potential alternative to the main roads; namely, the railway right-of-way, as Robin Beuscher suggested. But I would propose a shared option. Keep the existing train track but dedicate a path alongside it. There is more than ample room to do this safely and the route would be ideal for cyclists of all ages as the rail gradient is never more than two percent.
No need to repeat Beuscher’s argument that cycling is beneficial in so many ways. Add to this, the potential of a very attractive bonus for tourism. Imagine a summer day’s ride through the lovely Dorset countryside stopping at picturesque villages all the way to Wareham. Not a pipe dream. The support of the Dorset Council and a small amount of Central Government funding is all that is needed.
Sincerely, Mary Weller, by email
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