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Catford to Forest Hill (C2FH) walking and cycling route update March 2024

The original proposal to create a walking and cycling route from the Waterlink Way just south of Catford to Forest Hill via Elm Lane goes back to 2014.  The most direct route between Catford and Forest Hill is the South Circular road which is heavily trafficked at most times of the day and very inhospitable for walking and cycling. This proposed alternative route uses quiet back roads and off-road cut-throughs (see original proposed route below).

Discussions with local Councillors regarding this route continued for several years without much tangible progress being made. However in late 2021, with the advent of the Ward-based Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) programme, Lewisham Cyclists (LC), in collaboration with Friends of Elm Lane (FoEL), were able to submit a proposal to Lewisham Council for the funding of a Feasibility Study for the route. In March 2022 we were awarded £15K by the Council and once the funds were transferred in 2023 work commenced.

Elm Lane (visualised at the top of the post) is a key link in the route and is currently a severely pot-holed unadopted section of road. Upgrading Elm Lane is essential to the success of the project. Therefore in 2023 we commissioned two investigations into Elm Lane – the ‘Stats’ report (which lists all utilities in the road) and a Utilities Radar Survey (which shows the line of the utility ducts and pipes plus their depth below the surface). These are both needed before any sort of resurfacing work could be done.

Subsequently in Autumn 2023 we commissioned Sustrans to prepare a Feasibility Report into the whole route. After an information gathering onsite visit between Sustrans, LC and FoEL representatives, this study was compiled and delivered by Sustrans in March 2024.

Here is a visualisation of how the proposed route would look at Shipman Road in the outskirts of Forest Hill:

The full Sustrans report, containing visualisations and designs for the key interventions required along the route, can be found here:

What happens next:

Council Officers will investigate the legal status of Elm Lane plus the feasibility and costs for adoption & resurfacing of the Lane. FoEL will continue to engage with local Stakeholders and Residents to keep moving this element of the project forward. You can contact FoEL at

The campaign will also continue to establish C2FH as a priority Active Travel route in Lewisham so it can qualify for Cycle Network Development (CND) funding from TfL and/or Development funding from Lewisham Council.

If you are interested in being involved in ongoing campaigning for this route please email us at or come along to one of our friendly & informal monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of each month at 630pm (in person or online).