Marston cycle path to close for around 10 weeks from 14 August

UPDATE - 20 September 2023: Following extensive discussions between the University, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, it has been announced that an additional route is being made available for cyclists during the closure of the Marston cycling path.

A marshalled route through the University Parks and across the High Bridge (also known as the Rainbow Bridge) is available during school commuting hours (7am-9.30am and 3pm-5pm). Cyclists need to dismount and push their bikes on the bridge and in the Parks. For more details, see the Oxfordshire County Council website.

The Council operates the path on land leased from the University and is responsible for the upkeep of the cycle track itself and the bridges on which it crosses the river. The bridges, Lemond and Fignon, have not received significant maintenance since the path was created more than 30 years ago, and refurbishment is now needed to avoid unscheduled emergency closures in the future.

An alternative route for pedestrians will be available during the daytime, along the University-controlled Mesopotamia Walk and then along another path across farmland to New Marston.

However, this route is not suitable for cycling, and Mesopotamia Walk closes at the same time as the University Parks each evening. By night, users will need to go via either Magdalen Bridge or Marston Ferry Road – a map of the potential alternative routes is available.

The University regrets the disruption this will cause to those who rely on the path to cycle between Marston and central Oxford. 

However, it is unable to provide a safe alternative cycle route. The path to the east of the Rainbow Bridge is unsuitable for cycling, and the bridge itself is dangerously steep and lacks railings high enough to keep cyclists safe. 

Meanwhile Mesopotamia Walk is a narrow footpath running between two parallel arms of the Cherwell. It was not designed for cycling, is not lit at night, and permitting its use as an alternative cycle path would be extremely dangerous.

Comments or questions about the closure should be directed to the Council on - you can find out more at the Council website.