Cycling in Headington area

The best way of travelling from Headington to Oxford is by bicycle. The quickest and most obvious way is to go straight down Headington Hill, but this is not a very pleasant or safe route, and alternatives are suggested below. For those who can’t cope with the gradient on the way back up, Morrell Avenue is more manageable.

Bike wheel

Note that there are currently no shops in Headington where you can buy bicycles, but Headington Dry Cleaners and Alterations on the London Road has a cycle-repair section, and Quarry Cycle Services will come to you.

Oxford City Council: Report abandoned bicycles online


Right: Always lock your bike in Headington, but not just by its front wheel

Cycle track through the University Parks

The cycle track through the University Parks is a longer but much more pleasant alternative route from Headington to Oxford, bringing you to South Parks Road. This track starts at the bottom of Ferry Road (off the Marston Road), and there are various ways of getting there, depending on your starting point in Headington. Here are three suggested routes:

  • From Old Headington: go via Dunstan Road, Saxon Way, and Copse Lane;
  • From Sandfield Road: go via Staunton Road, which crosses the Marston Ferry Road and leads straight into the east-west stretch of Jack Straw’s Lane that emerges into the Marston Road (see map).
  • From Pullen’s Lane: Cuckoo Lane is a footpath and very narrow behind Headington Hill Hall, so should be avoided; but there is a lane beside Pollock House that leads into John Garne Way.

The Cycle Track and Mesopotamia are always CLOSED on 25 December and 1 January.

When there is flooding in Oxford, always check the University Parks Cycle Track information page. Note that if there are no recent messages, everything is probably perfectly all right; but at least once a year it becomes impassable. You can sign up here to have updates sent to you: they only come occasionally, when you need them; or follow @marstonbikepath on Twitter.

Oxford Mail, 21 April 1990 on the imminent decision by the University's Hebdomadal Council on a track through the University Parks:

Cycle track creation

Cycling to Summertown

Cycle down Headley Way and Cherwell Drive to pick up the cycle track on the left that runs alongside the Marston Ferry Road to Summertown.

Further afield

From the Green Road roundabout, there is a two-way cycle track in three directions:

  • Along the eastern bypass towards Cowley
    This track is also easy to access from Trinity Road in Headington Quarry
  • Along the northern bypass towards the north Oxford roundabout
    Also easy to accessed from the end of Barton Road or from Marsh Lane.
    Unless you have powerful lights, avoid this route at night: the cycle track is safe, but the lights from the bypass are inadequate.
    If you don’t mind pushing your bike a short distance along a quiet and sometimes muddy footpath, the prettiest way to the northern bypass is from Stoke Place in Old Headington, via the public right of way to Elsfield.
  • Along the London Road towards Wheatley
    This starts at the Green Road roundabout. Don’t attempt to cycle around the roundabout: wheel your bike through the subway.

Both bus companies to London are able to carry up to three bikes in their luggage compartment free of charge.

Maps showing cycle tracks

Local cycling links

  • The county council is responsible for the maintenance of all cycle lanes that are painted green. These are are only found on major roads such as the Headington/London Road
  • The city council is responsible for the maintenance of all uncoloured cycle lanes on minor roads, as well as dedicated cycle tracks
  • The city council is responsible for the cleaning of all cycle lanes: telephone their Cleansing Service Division, 01865 725912
  • Both types of cycle lane can be either mandatory (solid white line) or discretionary (broken white line). Beware of the latter, as cars and buses are allowed to drive in them; and if they only have a single yellow line, vehicles can park in them.

Two (very occasional) perils of the cycle track through the Parks are cattle and floods:

Cows on the track

Floods on the track

BackBack to Maps & Transport main page

© Stephanie Jenkins


Headington home Shark Oxford History home