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Slingsby Walk

Slingsby Walk is a shared use cycle and foot path across the Stray. This is a very useful route, which allows cyclists to avoid some busy roads. Because it's shared with pedestrians, it's essential to cycle in a considerate and respectful way, making sure to slow down well before passing walkers, so they feel safe.

Slingsby Walk is named after Sir William Slingsby, who discovered the first natural spring in Harrogate - the Tewit Well. (Read about the history of Harrogate as a spa town).

Slingsby Walk: map

The map below shows Slingsby Walk:

Map showing Slingsby Walk cycle route, Harrogate

Slingsby Walk: route notes

To get to Slingsby Walk from south Harrogate, follow the route shown on the map above, from the Leeds Road, down South Drive/St James Drive. These are quiet roads, and good for cycling. When you arrive at The Stray, turn right on the path which becomes Slingsby Walk, signed Showground, Spofforth, and Wetherby (see photo below left).

Signs near Slingsby Walk   Slingsby Walk cycle route

The route crosses Oatlands Drive, where there are some new signs for cyclists (see photos below). Oatlands Drive can be busy and difficult to cross, and a crossing would be welcome here.

Signs at junction of Slingsby Walk and Oatlands Drive  Signs at junction of Slingsby Walk and Oatlands Drive

Following Slingsby Walk, the next junction is with the Wetherby Road. Again, it can be very busy and difficult to cross, and I suggest the councils should consider putting in a pedestrian and cyclist crossing here. There are now directional signs at the junction with Wetherby Road (added in early 2015), to Harrogate Hospital, Claro Road, and Starbeck, although the signing to Knaresborough runs out here.

Wetherby Road crossing, Slingsby Walk

Slingsby Walk: end of the route at Knaresborough Road

Cyclists then arrive at the A59 Knaresborough Road. In early 2015, the 'cyclists dismount' sign was taken down (hooray!) and directional signs were added (see photo below) - to Claro Road, town centre, and Starbeck (but not to Knaresborough).

Slingsby Walk Knaresborough Road crossing

Slingsby Walk: cyclists dismount

The 'cyclists dismount' sign at Knaresborough Road has been taken down, but there remains one by the Oatlands Drive crossing.

Cyclists dismount sign on Slingsby Walk

This is what Cycle Infrastructure Design says about the 'cyclists dismount' sign (p.20, para 3.6): '3.6.1 The CYCLISTS DISMOUNT sign...is another over-used sign. On a well designed cycle facility, it is very rarely appropriate. The sign is possibly the least favoured among cyclists - each time it is used, it represents a discontinuity in the journey, which is highly disruptive. 3.6.2 In general, the sign should only be used in relatively rare situations where it would be unsafe or impracticable for a cyclist to continue riding. 3.6.3 If it looks as if the sign might be needed, practitioners should first check to see whether the scheme design could not first be modified to make its use unnecessary... 3.6.4 Where the sign's use appears unavoidable, practitioners should be able to defend their decision and explain why it cannot be avoided by design.'

As the other 'cyclists dismount' signs along Slingsby Walk have been taken down, my best guess is that this one has just been forgotten.

Slingsby Walk: further routes from Knaresborough Road

From Knaresborough Road, you can get to the Nidderdale Greenway via Granby Road and Claro Road (highlighted in yellow on the map below). 

To get to Knaresborough, cyclists can take the Nidderdale Greenway, then Bilton Lane; or take the A59 (no cycle provision, but it may be on its way, see the Cycling Delivery Plan). 

To get to Starbeck, cyclists can either take the A59 (no cycle provision), or take the back roads highlighted in yellow on this map (Birstwith Rd, Kingsley Drive & Rd), and either use the cycle path on the old railway line then The Avenue, or take Bogs Lane. Blue cycling signs now indicate the back street route to Starbeck.

Map of routes from end of Slingsby Walk

Slingsby Walk: suggestions for improvements

My two main suggestions for this route are:

1) Make it easier to cross Oatlands Drive, and especially Wetherby Rd - consider pedestrian and cyclist crossings. Remove the remaining 'cyclists dismount' sign.

2) Do not give up signing destinations before you get there. Signs for Knaresborough would be helpful where Slingsby Walk reaches the A59.

Do you have any more comments or suggestions?

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