Sherford-Plymouth Cycle Expressway


The Campaign is generally supportive of this application.  We especially support that the path is 4 metres wide and separated from motor vehicles with an existing footpath running parallel to it.

Our policy is that we wish to see this primary walking and cycling route, when complete, connect Sherford, Plymstock, Elburton, Brixton and Yealmpton with Plymouth City Centre, Drakes Trail and the Barbican.   We have evaluated our assessment of this application against Highways Agency Policy 195/16 as this link:  We have also assessed it against Sustrans policy “Paths For Everyone” as this link:

Policy 195/16 specifies that peak flow 2-way cycle routes in high density areas should be 4 metres wide and the design should be direct, coherent, comfortable, attractive and safe.  We comment as follows:

  • We support the width at 4 metres and like the shallow gradients
  • The new path should be signed for “cyclists” while the existing adjoining footpath should be signed for “pedestrians”.  This segregates cyclists from pedestrians and thus avoids conflict that currently occurs on traffic free routes such as NCN27 Drakes Trail
  • The crossing next the roundabout is designed incorrectly.  The footpath and cycle crossings should be reversed so that the foot crossing is nearest to the roundabout.  Please amend.
  • The approach to the crossing requires realignment.  There is a sharp narrow turn leading onto the  crossing that is unsafe, confusing and lacks coherence.  Realignment will solve this.  Please amend

An excellent test for compliance with Sustrans policy is to ask whether the route will be suitable that parents allow their reasonably sensible 12 year old children to cycle to school and be safe?  As an individual section and, subject to making amendments as the comments above, we believe that it will be safe.



This proposal is bad news for the Expressway. Please feel free to use the points made in our submission below. The more comments received the better. You can continue to comment through June 2018.

The date for submissions on the PCC website has officially passed but you can comment via email to

The plans can be viewed on the PCC website

This what we said:

We strongly object to this proposal which places the needs of motorised vehicles above those of users of sustainable transport. This is contrary to the policies currently espoused by national government.

The PCyC has worked with PCC over the last few years on the concept of a protected quality path between the City Centre and Elburton/Sherford as a major link in the Plymouth Strategic Cycle Network. We have seen our joint efforts rewarded in that there is now a quality shared use facility, 4 metres wide for much of its length, between the Old Laira Rail bridge and Broxton Drive. The plan is to continue this facility towards Elburton, with the next 300 metre section already planned and the final section currently aspirational.

This proposal, if passed, would see a major obstacle to this process. Although there is provision for a cycle lane (only 3.5 metres not the 4 m standard with additional footway), it is designed to direct cyclists travelling eastwards off the A379 into the new road to the housing development where they will have to wait twice at a double Pelican crossing before rejoining the A379.

Because the roundabout and the Pelican Crossings appear to be at a higher level than Billacombe road cyclists will face a diversion and a climb to reach the Pelican Crossing and a ramp will need to be provided. All this places an obstacle in the way of cyclists making good progress, important to the commuter cyclist.

The construction of this proposed roundabout could have a major impact on the eastward extension of the path. The proposed roundabout will be set to the north of the existing line of Billacombe Road and at a higher level. This could compromise the planned 300 metre extension to the existing route and therefore the onward aspirational extension to Colesdown Hill. Both these sections would be subject to a probable increase in costs and difficulty of construction.

The extension to Colesdown Hill has recently been the subject of an ecological survey, and my understanding is that it is expected that any ecological concerns can be overcome, as they have been on previous sites with similar issues. Plymouth City Council owns all the land involved.

We know that the prime reason for people not cycling as a means of daily transport is the fear of traffic, especially at junctions, and most of all at roundabouts, which are a real and perceived danger to cyclists. If cyclists choose to ignore the convoluted Pelican crossing route, and many will, they will need to negotiate a dangerous left turn lane for cars in order to progress eastwards along the A379 – an accident waiting to happen. Conversely, cyclists who are not willing to undertake this risk will face an unnecessary climb and a frustrating wait to cross two sets of lights. None of this is likely to encourage a greater uptake of cycling along this already overcrowded corridor.

Plymouth suffers badly from air pollution and this will be exacerbated by the additional traffic generated by Sherford and by the new quarry housing estate. This pollution will be significant in the approaches to, and on, Laira Bridge, an already polluted environment, so there is an urgent and vital need to provide safe infrastructure to encourage more people to cycle. Cyclists must be able to safely flow along this corridor if they are to play a part in making Plymouth a city with less pollution and a healthier population, not to mention reducing congestion on this busy route.

This proposal places a badly thought-out roundabout, presenting a significant obstacle to cycling, on this important route and will not encourage the modal shift away from cars towards sustainable transport which is the desired aim of local government, national government and international organisations such as the WHO.


ePetition: A petition to support the expressway

petition button 2

Please add your name to the hundreds who are calling for change

Sherford is a planned development of 5,500 homes 5 miles to the East of Plymouth City Centre. Planning consent woman canstock lr cropped borderhas just been received and work is expected to start soon. Together with significant increases of housing in the South Hams, this is likely to increase pressure on the existing busy roads. the Plymouth Cycling Campaign has researched and proposed a dedicated cycle expressway linking Sherford to Plymouth and improving links to Plympton, Plymstock, Elburton, and Brixton.canstockphoto9161447 - Copy

The expressway would provide a viable route for cycling and mobility traffic free from cars, trucks and other motorised transport and with a separated pedestrian section.  It would increase transport capacity without the need for new road building, largely following the line of the defunct Plymouth Brixton railway. At 5 miles, the distance between Sherford and Plymouth makes cycle commuting and travel a practical option, however the existing road links are likely to restrict cycle use to a minimum. The proposed new route is designed to link up with transport developments which are already going ahead, such as re-opening the disused rail bridge across the Plym at Laira. This will keep costs down and help to make sure the expressway links well with other cycle routes.

Miller and Appleton Families borderedPlymouth City Council, Devon County Council and South Hams District Council have been involved in discussions on the development of the Expressway proposal. Plymouth Cycling Campaign is urging these authorities to seize this opportunity to achieve a major traffic improvement. As well as linking Sherford with the City of Plymouth, the route would meet the call for better transport links for the popular areas of Plympton, Plymstock and Elburton as well as Brixton and Yealmpton, avoiding the busy A379.

This proposal offers Plymouth and South Hams a low cost way to build for the future and deliver a project which would be amongst the most advanced in the country. You can help to make this happen.

Sherford Cycle Route V6

Route v2

Update; Details of the recent Stanborough Cross Proposal are here

What you can do

For this proposal to succeed we need evidence that the route will be used and that it would attract significant numbers of cyclists away from their cars. If you are someone who could be persuaded onto a bike if there is a fast segregated route let us know; add a comment below or show your support by emailing Then let your councillor and MP know; the more support the better

Support, questions, suggestions and objections are all welcome, just add a comment below or email

For more about Plymouth Cycling Campaign, click here:


Why Cycling


To see what’s happening in Bristol, click here:

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More about Sherford:


3 thoughts on “Sherford-Plymouth Cycle Expressway

  1. I live in hooe and for 28 years I have commuted to ermington by car motorcycle and twice by bicycle along the A38 believe or not, and I am still here. I see a great deal of cyclist jousting with the traffic over the years, and too many times have I seen near misses, which has put me off the commute by bycicle, so now after all these years, a complete cycle route is planned, what fantastic news for everybody, well done to all those involved.

  2. Unfortunately I think that this proposal would fail some basic cost vs. capability analysis.

    I love cycling and I love cycling provisions, however I am also a taxpayer so I would like my money spent cost effectively and based on a true requirement.

  3. Following the recent publication of a short article in the E-magazine of The Plymouth Chamber of Commerce regarding the proposed cycle expressway from Sherford/Elburton to Plymouth, readers were asked for comments and the following were received:
    1. I would definitely use this , a safe cycle route around and through Plymouth and the outskirts is what we have been needing for years ! I support the planned expressway: Yes
    I would definitely use this regularly with my wife & two children. I support the planned expressway: Yes
    2. Happy to support something that will make a commute between Yealmpton and Plymouth alot safer!A great facility for cyclists and car users and one which ensures I don’t take my life in my own hands every time I’m on my bike. I support the planned expressway: Yes
    3. Excellent suggestion – wonder if further off-national road network provision is possible as houses are built in old quarry. Would also be good to see the plans for linking to Brixton, yealmpton and Newton/Noss. I support the planned expressway: Yes
    4. Safer routes on the current roads, lanes and ASL’s that enable you to see the lights are what is needed. Once you annex cyclists, then ALL motorists will expect cyclists to be annexed everywhere! I support the planned expressway: No
    5. Plymouth is such a heavily car dependent city and I support anything which helps overcome this. For a cycle route to be a success it has to give priority to cyclists. Stopping at three or more intersections whilst cars pass through (Derriford roundabout is a good example) does not encourage the takeup of cycling nor do on-road cycle lanes that appear and disappear. If the designers make cycling the fastest way to get in to the city from the east then this scheme has a chance of succeeding. I support the planned expressway: Yes

    The Plymouth Cycling Campaign also asked members for their comments and we received the following:
    1. Given that I live out that way, I’m very much in favour of the cycle expressway, and if built I’d be sure to use it daily. I commute by bicycle, as I’ve said at the last PCyc meeting, and ride on the A379 daily.
    2. I would definitely support such a project.
    3. I think it’s wonderful and would open up access to a beautiful part of south hams and to dartmoor with the plym cycle track… What a wondful way to encourage people of all ages to get outside enjoy the countryside in the safety of being off road…
    4. I would like to let you know that my family and myself support the idea for the cycle path to run from Yealmpton to Plymouth. It is a great idea as it would make a much safer option for cyclists (especially children) rather then the main road which at times can be very dangerous for cyclists.
    5. Ref: Cycle Expressway – we would definately use it. Would much rather cycle to Yealmpton to stsrt the newest route from Yealmpton. Cycled it from Lipson to Salcombe last summer but the road to Yealmpton in part is lethal!
    6. I would like to add my support for improved cycle links from the Elburton direction to Plymouth city centre. Of particular concern to me is the stage between Laira bridge and the opposite side of the Morrison’s roundabout.
    7. What a great idea!
    8. I both drive and cycle and the idea of a safe route back towards Wembury and beyond is very appealing. We have just starting a cycling group in Wembury and train for charity cycles and this will be our 3rd year. One thing we would love to do is get our children to ride with us more often but from Wembury to Laira Bridge can be a dangerous ride.
    9. This route would be fantastic, It would allow me to increase my cycling to work from twice a week (as often as I’m prepared to dice with the traffic) to every day.
    10. I was particularly interested in the proposed City centre to Yealmpton cycleway and know that there is alot of interest in this proposed route from cyclists in Wembury. Please could you express my support for this route.
    11. yes a good idea , and a lot safer

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