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  • Writer's pictureFourPoint Mapping

Biking in Braintree

We recently completed production of a series of cycling maps for Braintree District Council whose aim was to encourage locals and visitors to explore the district by bike using 10 new cycle routes. Three routes would be for families with children under-10, three for families with children over-10, and four longer, more challenging routes for leisure cyclists.

Having won the tender, we engaged with local cycling groups and and spent a great deal of time researching and devising the potential cycle routes. The routes for families with children under 10 needed to be short and exclusively traffic-free, and the ones for over-10s needed to use quite roads and could be a little longer. All six family-friendly rides needed to have plenty of other things to interest children on or near the routes - like playparks and cafés - and quizzes were also devised with specific questions about what you could see and find along the route.

The four leisure cyclists' rides were evenly distributed around the district and all about 30 miles in length with shorter 10- and 20-mile options. They aimed to take in the best of what the district had to offer in terms of landscape, quaint villages, historic sites, cafés and pubs. They utilise quiet, flat, well-surfaced roads where possible, and some have the option to start and finish at railway stations. In addition they link as many locations on Braintree's Grape & Grain Trail and Cake Escape Trail as possible.

Our specialist cycle-surveyor then rode and surveyed all the routes, explored other options, took notes and made any adjustments before the route were finalised and approved.

The six family-friendly rides were to fit onto an A4 sheet, while the four longer cycle tours would be on A3. All were to fold to A6 size. The route maps were created using the same styling across all the maps, and the accompanying graphic design established. A logo and brand was then devised for the series, along with a set of illustrations which would complement the design and cartography. We then wrote all the text and devised detailed route profiles for the four longer rides. Braintree District Council supplied most of the photography, but we also used some photographs taken by our surveyor. Two thousand copies of each map were then printed and delivered, and the GPX trails and web-friendly versions of the maps are now available for download from Braintree's website.

It was a huge privilege to be able to take such a holistic approach to this project and to be involved from start to finish: we researched, devised and surveyed the cycle routes, created the cartography, the branding, the graphic design and the illustrations, took some of the photographs, and oversaw production of the printed maps.


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