with Angela and Christine
After my delayed start I was pleased to meet up with Christine at St Pancras for a good journey to Derby. On arrival we found Route 68 and somewhere to buy a picnic lunch. Through the town centre and soon out on to quiet lanes into open countryside to Ashbourne and the busy traffic free Tissington Trail. Enjoyed an ice cream en route and on reaching the end found ourselves on rough bridleways, joining up with tarmac and then again on a bridleway high over Derbyshire moorland for a steep descent into the lovely spa town of Buxton.
The next morning we faced a challenge. Most of the off road routes are rideable, not so the one outside Buxton. The tiny tarmac lane got steeper. This soon disintegrated into a rough stone track which only a full bore mountain bike could cope with. Luckily, later the tarmac returned. We cycled on through Whaley Bridge, stopping for coffee at New Mills before a descent into Glossop. Our route now changed to NCN 62, part of the Trans Pennine Cycle Trail. Not well signed so with a little help from Christine’s phone app: maps.me we found our way to Hadfield to pick up the lovely traffic free Longdendale Trail to the Woodhead Tunnels. Here the bridleway ascent on to the moors is short and extremely steep so we took our panniers off to make it a little easier to carry our bikes up to the Dark Peak moorland, then returning to the road at Dunford Bridge and eventually a descent into Holmfirth. After lovely stroll around Holmfirth and dinner at local Italian, we slept well.
We had been warned of the outrageous climb out of Holmfirth – so we just walked . We had hoped now at the top we might stay there, not so, it soon drops down to Melham and another up and over to Slaithwaite. A lovely ride round Scanmmonden Water reservoir that lies next to the M62 to find a tunnel to take us under the motorway and on to Barkisland for a picnic lunch and then to a steep descent to Sowerby Bridge where we decided to join the Calder Navigation to Hebden Bridge. Here we completed a very long and steep uphill pushing our bikes to get to the cobbles through Heppenstall and to our route taking us over moorland passing Widdop Reservoir and moor, our first real taste of remote uplands, and descent into Colne. Here, due to lack of/poor signage, Christine consulted her maps.me again so we eventually found the lovely route taking us through Alkincoats park and on to Kelbrook for our last overnight stay.
Next morning we cycled to Barnoldswick and onto the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, then to Gargrave for a welcome break at the well known”Dalesman Teashop” and the beautiful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales. Quiet roads take you past Airton to a relatively steep climb onto the moors above Settle and then of course a steep descent into the this busy town for our train home.
To sum up this was a great experience - serene tow paths, some hard climbs, lots of walking, signs of our proud industrial heritage and world class scenery.
Notes: not suitable for road bikes.
We cycled around 40 miles per day,last day 22 miles.
There is no hill you cannot walk up - we walked up many.
Phone App: Maps.me proved very helpful.
For further information visit:
Maps available from the Sustrans shop.