The COGS active travel article comes from COGS member Mark Burfitt this month. 

Active travel whether walking or cycling is a great way to explore Salisbury and South Wiltshire for the pleasure of discovering new places or for travelling to work or school but how do you find the most interesting, quickest or safest routes and how do you stay on track?

The ‘Connecting Wiltshire’ website ( has a number of cycling route maps that can be downloaded including ones for Salisbury and Amesbury. Free paper versions of these maps are available at the Salisbury Information Centre in Fish Row too.

They show cycle ways and paths and recommended routes and would be a good place to start for those unsure about the safest and quietest routes to cycle. You will find a map of The Golden Way too – a 7 mile circular route around the city. The Connecting Wiltshire maps also show the local sections of National Cycle Routes and the Wiltshire Cycleway which allow you to explore further afield on signposted routes. Those routes are overseen by Sustrans and their website contains further information and maps.

The 1:50k scale Ordnance Survey Landranger maps are another useful planning aid especially for those thinking of some off-road cycling. Cyclists are allowed to use bridleways and by-ways but not footpaths. Unfolding a large map can be challenging, especially if the weather is wet or windy, but an OS Maps subscription allows you to view and follow routes on your phone as well as print off maps of areas you ride most regularly and you can buy map cases for these that sit on your handlebars.

Members of COGS (the Cycling Opportunities Group for Salisbury) use a number of cycling navigation apps and websites to plan routes that can then be downloaded on to a cycle computer (if you have one) or printed off or used as a reference for marking up a route on an OS map. is a favourite website of mine. It’s free to use and good for finding quieter routes. It has clear directions, is easy to use and fun to experiment with and will show you distances, gradients and hills as well as nearby cafes, coffee shops and pubs.

Other members favour the website which also has a free to use route planner function and other sites including Komoot do similar things.

When you are out on the road, many phone apps with free to use basic versions, of which Strava is probably the best known, can record your ride stats as you travel, including speed, time and distance all the while tracking and mapping where you've been. This can be a good way to try out GPS navigation without investing in a bike computer. If the route is fairly simple or you know the area well, you can keep your phone in your pocket and just stop and check it occasionally like a paper map.

Eventually – and here is where you will need to invest some money – GPS-based handlebar-mounted cycle computers such as Garmin or Wahoo devices will allow you to upload and follow routes and display speed, distance etc. They’re more durable and rugged than a mobile phone.

Finally, COGS organises short, weekly, family-friendly cycle rides on Thursday evenings from late April to early September and these are a great way to explore and be introduced to some of the routes around Salisbury. Details of the 2024 COGS rides programme will be published in the spring (search for ‘COGS Salisbury’ and go to the events page).   

In the short term we are organising the Salisbury Active Travel conference that will be held on Saturday, February 24 in the Guildhall. National speakers will attending to give examples of how we can improve our city for every on that walks, cycles or uses mobility aids.  Booking is mandatory and can be made at: