While the wider cycling network connecting to the Culham Science Centre is not very well signposted, it exists (in varying quality) and is maintained sufficiently to allow regular commutes. Google Maps' recommended cycle routes from your home to Culham Science Centre may not always be the shortest or most reliable path. You can find which path works best for you by exploring on your own, or asking someone who lives near you to show you the way, by dropping a message into the Yammer group or Google forum.

Culham Route Reps

You can contact our route reps below if you want to know more details about individual routes, such as the difficulty level, time required, so you feel more confident to start your first commuting journey.

From Oxford (west route) - Martin Cuddy

From Abingdon - Aidan Reilly

From Oxford (east route) - Alexandrine Kantor

From Didcot: both routes - Ocean Wong

From Didcot: West route - Teuntje Tijssen

From Wallingford - Roel Verhoeven, Teuntje Tijssen

From Wantage - ?

From East - ?

(If you would like to be a route rep to lead on improvements to your commute, get in touch with the committee. The more detailed knowledge of local problems the better!)

From Oxford (or Abingdon): West route through Abingdon

Due to the lack of any cyclist/pedestrian crossings of the Thames around the Nuneham viaduct (the railway bridge between Radley and Culham over the Thames), we have to take the convoluted way going through Abingdon.

The red paths are the alternatives that you may choose to take. This includes a car-free path parallel to the train track along Kennington, some alternative routes through Abingdon, and an off-road path along the river Thames, which is often very muddy and requires tyres of width>28mm.

(There is a third alternative path from the back of the Europa school, past Culham site's North Gate. This road is called the Thame Lane. There is a decent surface from the NW corner down to the gatehouse/reception, but it's a bit bumpy after that. You have to know about the little gate which allows you onto the perimeter road. It's near the tennis courts and is supposed to be unlocked between ~6:30am and 8:00pm on weekdays. If you end up on Culham No.1 site you've missed it!)

The blue path from Abgindon to Culham is a smoother ride compared to the red one, but it is very narrow and you must slow down when passing pedestrians or cyclists going the opposite way. If you are a fast cyclist then it is also important to equip a bell (costs only £3 in Halfords) on your bike in case you want to overtake other slower cyclists.

That being said, this path can still be quite bumpy for a bike without suspension and features a large height difference between the cycle path and the A415 road, so please exercise caution when cycling along that section. Wear a helmet if you are not confident in handling your bike.

It is also important to get a headlight for your bike so that you can cycle along-side A415 (and potentially through Radley/Kennington too) at night without being completely blinded and at the mercy of motorists.

Road shared with cars: The section through Kennington does not have a dedicated cycle path, so you'll often have to cycle on the road. The roads through Abingdon also lacks cycle path, so you will have to share them with other cars. Crossing the Abingdon Bridge (Bridge Street) at peak traffic hours may also be quite scary, as drivers (especially bus drivers) are typically quite aggressive. So you may opt to walk your bike across the bridge instead.

From Oxford: East route

This is the shortest way to get from Cowley to Culham site. However due to the danger it poses, we do not recommend using this road unless you are an experienced cyclist. There is only limited shoulder space dotted with pot holes and puddles, requiring you to swerve occasionally towards the main lane 

Road shared with cars: The section on the A4074 is quite busy with traffic, so we discourage its use during peak hours. If you choose to take this route, we recommend that you have the following:

From Didcot: West route (old power station)

There is a slightly muddy patch at where the white circle SE of Sutton Courtenay is (second 90° left turn). Apart from that, the rest of the path (until it rejoins the A415) is very smooth.

Road shared with cars: Road between Sutton Courtenay and A415 is shared use with cars, but the speed is relatively low and the road is wide enough to allow some cars to pass safely.

If you live around the Sout West area of Didcot (up the hill near the Boundary Park), bear in mind that there is a shortcut to the Old Power Station route through Freedman Road that you can take.

From Didcot: East route (Long Wittenham)

This is the shortest path to get from Didcot to Culham.

Appleford level-crossing: The 90° turn at the Appleford crossing crosses over a railway track. There are barriers on either side and signs that states "Authorised users only". This authorised-users-only restrictions applies only to vehicles; pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians are allowed to pass through with no issues as they have public right of way. The barrier should lift after you press the button. (This information has been confirmed by a member of the CulBUG community and other members have stated that they were able to pass through with no issues in the past.)

There is often standing water in the tunnel below A4130. Always remember to slow down to avoid getting splashed (or worse, slipping out) in the puddles in the dark.

Alternative to the Appleford level-crossing: The red path between the A4130 and the B4016 crossing is extremely bumpy, so it's difficult to cycle at anything above 15mph unless on a full-suspension mountain bike.

Road shared with cars: The road between Long Wittenham and Clifton Hampden is shared with cars at 30mph, which can be pretty intimidating. Cycle to the left edge of the road if you intend on letting cars pass you, or if you feel safer, cycle at the center of the road where there are fewer potholes, so cars won't try to overtake at close distance.

From Wallingford

This is the recommended route towards the CSC, it avoids large roads but in doing so passes along the Wittenham clumps, which means there is a small climb on this route.

Going towards the CSC, it's best to use Forge Lane (see black arrow on map), which is a one-way road. On the way back to Wallingford, this can be avoided: see the blue arrow on map.

From Wantage

Please contact the committee to fill this section in if you are familiar with this commute!

From East

As you leave site and head east it's a fairly busy road up until the A4074. There is a cycle path that follows this section of the route but the section from site to Clifton Hampden is on the wrong side of the road which you would need to cross. 

Navigating the A4074 roundabout is manageable but take caution as it is also a busy A-road. 

From here there is a gentle country lane leading to Stadhampton as you pass Queensford Lake and Drayton St Leonard. 

At Stadhampton there is the option to join the B480 to East Oxford which once again is busier but manageable.  

June 2022 - Bike to work survey report

The opinion of the cycling networks around Culham Science Centre of some UKAEA cycle commuters were collected and summarized in the following report.