Active Travel SPD

Ended on the 4 October 2023

5. Active Travel Infrastructure in Colchester

The Colchester City Council area is varied and encompasses a diverse range of places with unique characteristics. The urban area of Colchester includes the city centre and the surrounding built up areas, identified in the Local Plan as North, South, East and West (including Stanway). The Local Plan also identifies Sustainable Settlements. Tiptree, West Mersea and Wivenhoe are the largest of the Sustainable Settlements and provide essential services. These areas are surrounded by other villages and the rural hinterland.

Within the urban areas of the city of Colchester, active travel infrastructure comprises networks of footways, public footpaths and cycle routes. The quality of these routes varies in terms of segregation, widths, continuity and surfacing. Cycle route provision includes:

  • Traffic free routes;
  • Shared walking and cycle routes with varying levels of segregation;
  • Infrastructure adjacent to and/or on the carriageway;
  • Signed on-road routes.

The Public Rights of Way (PRoW) network, which includes public footpaths and bridleways, provides links across the Colchester City Council urban and rural areas. The PRoW Interactive Map | Essex County Council ( provides more detail.

Cycle networks are less well established in other urban areas (e.g. Tiptree, West Mersea and Wivenhoe) and in the rural areas. National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 1 and 51 run through the city linking Colchester to Tiptree and Harwich to Oxford. The Colchester Orbital provides a circular route around the city following Public Rights of Way (PRoW) and links with cycle routes wherever possible.

Although much of the formal walking and cycling network is focused on the Colchester urban area, quality active travel infrastructure is important across the city-wide area, to link residents to their destinations as well as providing active travel routes for leisure and recreation. Therefore, the principles set out in this SPD relate to the whole of the Colchester City area.

In rural areas, it will be important to take into account the differing speed limits that exist and ensure that the most appropriate infrastructure is delivered. Country lanes are part of our rural environment, but the volume and speed of traffic, and the presence of heavy lorries, can make them uninviting and intimidating. The opportunities for specific active travel requirements of the rural communities can be identified through partnership working with the Parish and Town Councils and where appropriate may be considered through Neighbourhood Plans.

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