Butser Cutting

Photograph of the A3 dual carriageway from the Old A3
Photograph of the A3 dual carriageway from the Old A3

In the early 1990s the A3 road north from the A3(M) was replaced by a dual carriageway that, for the vast majority of cyclists, does not offer an acceptable safety level. The Highways Agency built cycle tracks alongside the A3, south from Queen Elizabeth country park to north Horndean and from Petersfield to Liphook. The critical section for cyclists, through the Butser cutting, was left without cycle provision with the loss of the primary cycling route across Hampshire’s South Downs. Over 10 years of campaigning by a large number of cyclists failed to get this unacceptable road design rectified.

CTC organised a petition to gauge support for the cycle route. Several local cycling clubs and Queen Elizabeth Country Park supported the initiative. 3894 people signed the petition. The comments provided have been analysed to estimate the value of the route to the community. That assessment was used to support the South Downs National Park Authority bid to improve cycling in the national park. The bid was successful and a total of £788k was obtained from the Department for Transport and local funding to construct the Butser Cutting route. Work has to be complete by 1st April 2015 to meet the conditions of the funding

The project will create a cycle route through the Butser Cutting from Queen Elizabeth Country Park to Buriton Flyover and along the B2070 to Bolinge Hill Lane where it will connect to the existing cycle route into Petersfield.

The feasibility study has been completed and reviewed and Hampshire Highways is costing the options.

We remain involved in the project, helping to address issues as they arise.

More about the South Downs National Park Authority bid, and projects.

For more information, contact Mike Ashton.

8 thoughts on “Butser Cutting

  1. I am delighted that at long last there is going to be a cycle path through the Butser cutting. This means I will be able to cycle to work instead of taking the car!!

    Cant wait!!

  2. Andy - it is now almost August 2014 - has there been any progress made, plans drawn up about the new cycle path that has been approved and budgeted for.
    I went into the QE country park in May and asked and they had no idea!
    Any help?

    1. Sorry to take a while to respond. The Portsmouth CTC 'right to ride' representatives and CTC National are helping Hampshire Highways by reviewing and commenting on plans. We are currently trying to arrange a meeting with HH to provide more direct feedback. It's too early to provide more specific information, but we hope to create an article describing progress in a month or so.

      1. I'm getting very worried about the lack of public information about the proposed cycle path through Butser Hill at this late stage. There are rumours about an at-grade track alongside the road : another about a hilly (mudpie) route through the forest. In any event we must get decent-quality , machine-laid, tarmac and nothing like the hideous surface on the existing northbound section alongside the Country Park. [ mbadmin@ctc.org.uk ]

        1. The starting position with the cycle route through the Butser Cutting was ,and still is, that most of the route will be along the old A3 which is a wide asphalt route that is still in good condition. Additionally there will be an asphalt route from the Old A3 alongside the B 2070 connecting up to the existing cycle route into Petersfield.

          The difficult sections are getting down from the Old A3 to the layby alongside the A3 dual carraigeway, the section alongside the A3 below the steep headland and the ramp into the park centre. This includes 3 sub sections.

          1. Through Forestry Commision Land to the A3 Dual Caraigeway where the Forestry Commision have donated the land on the basis that its designated as a bridleway so that they are not responsible for maintenance. The plan is that this section will have an asphalt strip like all the rest of the route.

          2. Around the back of the layby and alongside the headland there is very little space so there have been difficulties designing this section and getting Highways Agency Agreement but I'm told that this is now overcome.

          3. The ramp into the Park Centre has been designed. It will follow the line used by South Downs Way prior to 1983.

          We have been given access to the drawings of the route and have submitted comments which included points raised by CTC nationally. While there are a few second level issues such as width of track, maintainablity and signing that are of concern in the main the design seems to be good.

          There were delays getting Licences for HCC staff and contractors to work on Highways Agency Land. This have been mainly overcome as the Highways Agency have agreed to undertake and pay for the work on one section using their own staff.

          Construction is now planned between February and June 2015. Hampshire Highways say that they have agreement from the Department of Transport to spend funds slightly later than was specified in the bid.

          I dont recognise the description suggested in the comment dated 23rd October.

          1. Mike, Thank you for the detailed update.
            I have recently seen the detailed plans for this cycle route ( courtesy of SDNP staff @ QECP ). Your description and the visual plans give me a clear idea of the proposal.
            My previous comment about hideous [tarmac] surface was a reference to this section : https://goo.gl/maps/R5gIY
            Unfortunately, the contractors still seem able to lay new tarmac with a dismal surface quality, on cycle paths, and so we get stuck with it for decades.

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