A CYCLIST was told he could fix a path himself after it became so overgrown and pot-holed that it was left almost unusable.

Chris Waites, 30, has compared the one kilometre of cycle track between Didcot and his home in Long Wittenham to essentially just 'one giant pot hole' due to its state of disrepair.

He said works by Oxfordshire County Council last year has left the route, part of a national cycleway and a 'premium route' for the council, so narrow in parts that it is a struggle for a bike to fit down it.

When a cyclist meets another coming in the opposite direction, or a pedestrian, they have to 'dive' into the overgrown undergrowth to avoid a collision, according to Mr Waites.

Despite concerns that it is putting people off travelling by bike to work in the nearby Culham Science Park, he was told the council has no plans to fix the path until 2026.


He claims a councillor offered to pay for the £10,000 worth of gravel needed, if he was prepared to do the maintenance work himself.

The 30-year-old, who works at the Churchill Hospital, said: "I was told it is not anyone’s job to apply for the grants needed to fix it but if I wanted to do it myself they would pay for the materials.

“The gravel would be dropped off and I could get to work.

“But it’s not as if it’s the sort of job you can do with a few mates at the weekend.

"I'd imagine you would need a dumper truck and steam roller at least.

"I know they are pushing the big society these days but it's not just a matter of rolling up your sleeves and getting on with it, this is a serious job."

Sustrans guidelines state that cycle paths should be 2m wide and tarmacked.

The path in question forms part of the national cycle route 5 which connects Reading and Oxford.

It is also one of Oxfordshire County Council's 'premium' routes, identified because they link key strategic sites in the area.

Mr Waites said he is no longer able to use the path with his three-year-old Beth and says he has seen a marked reduction in the number of commuters using it compared to last year.

He added: “The planned resurfacing is still eight years away.

“It is meant to be one of the six priority cycle routes in the whole county, if they are not going to maintain this one, what hope is there for the rest?

“We know there is a finite amount of money and the roads are in need of investment but it wouldn't require much.

“If you were to cycle this way once, you would never do it again.

“It’s too overgrown for my daughter to use it regularly now which is really sad."

Martin Crabtree, spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council, said grass on the path had been cut yesterday and any potholes would be dealt with as required.

**This article was edited on June 13 to clarify that it was a councillor not a member of council staff who offered to pay for the materials necesarry.**