Monday, 22 May 2017

Public Ride - Hardwick Hall

6 riders joined myself, Robin and David on Sunday for a 10 mile ride to Hardwick Hall and back. We hadn't anticipated sharing the ride with a Horse Trekking event, but both horses and cyclists were  well behaved!

The weather was ideal on the day despite all the rain we had during the previous week and the tracks were surprisingly mud free. Everyone enjoyed a coffee break sitting in the sun at the Hardwick NT cafe and  the talk Karen gave on Bess of Hardwick.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Hardwick Hall ride 21 May 2017

Join us for a guided family cycle ride to Hardwick Hall
 Ride location:  The Phoenix Greenways, starting at Teversal Visitor Centre.
Date & start time: Sunday 21st May – 11.00am
Approx length: 10 miles taking around 3 hours (inc stops)
Suitable for: Family groups, including accompanied children who have reasonable proficiency at riding a bike. Appropriate to riders of all ages.
Terrain: Tracks and Trails.
Ride description: This is an "out and back” ride along the traffic-free Terversal and Rowthorne Trails, taking us into the spectacular Hardwick Park. The Trails are shared by walkers, horses and other cyclists so can be busy at times with walkers, joggers and loose dogs, so basic riding safety etiquettes and protocols will be observed.  The ride is mainly level apart from a very gentle incline on the outward leg in the grounds of the Hardwick Estate, but it should not provide a problem to anyone with a degree of basic fitness.
The ride will be fairly leisurely and ride leader will facilitate a number of stopping points to take in the views on the outward leg.
Facilities: There is free parking at the Teversal Visitor Centre. The Café and information Centre opens at 10am so refreshments can be bought before the ride.  When we arrive at the National Trust Hardwick Estate, we will have approx. 30- 45minutes relaxing time to enjoy a drink/snack etc, at the NT café and picnic area, alternatively you can bring your own refreshments.
Entrance to the estate is free, but this ride may inspire you to visit Hardwick Hall another day and discover how Bess of Hardwick acquired her wealth and built Hardwick Hall.

Ride leaders: The ride will be led by a member of the Group who has will provide some information about the history of the trail and the Hardwick Estate. He will be supported by other members of the group to ensure that the ride is conducted safely. All members of the group are qualified to lead rides of this nature and are approved to do so by Sustrans.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Emperor's New Signage

The Emperor of the New Forest was very proud of his cycle routes and wanted only the very best signage for them, so that his subjects on bicycles could find their way about in the forest. He searched far and wide but could never find quite the style of signage that he liked.

One day, two wicked Rangers came to him and said, “Sire, we have the just the thing for you – the very best signage that has ever been devised, but you will need to give us lots of money so that we can put this project properly into effect, and also it will take some time, so difficult will be our task. Moreover, this signage is magic: only wise cyclists will be able to see it; fools will see nothing at all!” The emperor was dead impressed and told the rangers to start work immediately. He said, “I only want clever people working for me, not fools.” When they were alone, the wicked Rangers laughed like drains. “All the cyclists in the forest will pretend to see the signage. Nobody will want to look a prat!” Next day and for the next few weeks they beavered away on the non-existent signage but everyone who watched them at work pretended to see the most beautiful signage in the whole world! Even the Emperor of the New Forest could not see any signage but he did not want to be thought a fool. The emperor was very happy and he gave the two wicked Rangers lots of money.

The day came when the new signage was ready to be installed on all the cycle routes of the New Forest and this ‘task’ was carried out by the two wicked Rangers who, after their final payment, disappeared and were never seen again. Then the emperor and his subjects cycled in the forest and said, “This new signage is amazing!” for they didn’t want to look like idiots, but in truth they rode round and round and got totally lost. And so it is that to this day that, despite the Sustrans online mapping which shows Route 2 passing through the New Forest and notwithstanding the fact that you should be able to follow any route of the National Cycle Network without a map, much of it has in fact only magic signs which can only be seen by clever cyclists.

Context: I have just ridden Route 2 from Dorchester to Southampton. It was fortunate that I had fed the route from the online mapping into my Garmin gadget before setting out. Otherwise I might still be in the New Forest together with the emperor’s subjects, riding round and round forever! A beautiful route, nevertheless! (Recommended – but take a map with you!)

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Easter Sunday led ride for the public


Meet at Matlock station at 10:45 for a prompt start at 11:00 (Derby train arrives at 10:30)

Fun for all the family! We will ride to Rowsley along the new multi-user path to Darley Dale and Rowsley, stopping at a number of places to search for clues and answer questions. At each location children will look for a letter which after rearrangement will spell out a well-known word. Adults will answer a few questions. There will be prizes for the winners! We will be passing through the delightful Whitworth Institute Park - and expect to see steam trains en route! Refreshments will be available at Caudwell Mill, Rowsley, after which we will ride back without stops to Matlock, arriving at about 14:00. Most of the route will be traffic-free, off road path consisting of tarmac or Toptrek (crushed stone - like the Monsal Trail) surface. Almost any bike will be appropriate for this ride. Parents, please look after your children when riding over the (very short) road sections. 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Your support is required for a planning application!

Many of you will remember the signing we did last year on the new multi-user path over Staker Hill (31 Mar 2016 - see blog post 28 Mar for details and pics on 11 Apr). This path is part of the White Peak Loop and also forms a new alignment of NCN Route 68. Unfortunately, we could not finish the job as there were some outstanding problems with the route which was to be taken by the path in the area of Harpur Hill, and the path itself is still incomplete.  Hopefully, this situation could soon be resolved as a planning application has now been lodged with High Peak District Council for a new link from the path to the Parks Inn. But we must take nothing for granted and this link will only happen if we give our support to the application. Click here for the link to the application and then go to the bottom of the page and click Comment on this application. Thanks for your support.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Becky Bryan - Derbyshire Dales DC

So, I have met up with Becky at DDDC this morning. She is the Sport and Health Development Officer for DDDC with a support staff of 4-5 people. Contact number is 01629 761385 and email at

I explained to her about the White Peak Ranger group, how we linked into Dan and the wider Sustrans organisation. I said I would send her a copy of the map of NCN routes that we cover, as she didn't seem to be too familiar with these.

DDDC have very little specific cycling based activity since the loss of funding for Ruth Taylor's position. She is keen to work with us, and support any activities that we arrange. The only active programme she is aware of is the regular Monday (ladies) group who meet at Hassop Station. That group regularly attracts 15+ riders and has a total membership of perhaps 30 people. The only ride they do is along the Monsal Trail.

It was interesting to hear that the Monday Group has an arrangement with HAssop Book Store and cycle centre whereby riders are able to park for free and riders can hire bikes with a 40% discount ie £6 per bike per ride. Similar discount levels wither agreed with DCC at their Parsley Hay and Ashbourne sites, but no led rides have yet become a regular feature from there.

Becky has got access to the DDDC website, Facebook and Twitter accounts and through which she will help promote any rides that we organise. She is also keen to ensure promotion of them is made at the ARC.

She was interested to learn about the programme that we are putting together and I have said that I will send a draft to her as soon as we have progressed it to the next stage.

Unfortunately DDDC does not have the resources to initiate many biking activities and so they are keen to support others who are looking to do something. In practice, at this stage their support will probably be little more than promoting our events. However, this could be a relationship which might grow over time. I am not aware of much else, by way of funded stakeholders or partners, in the area.

Please let me know if there are any other matters which you would like me to ask her about.

Cycling therapy by Lee Craigie!

Watch this inspiring short Sustrans video, sent to me by Andy Staines, about champion Scottish MTB rider Lee Craigie and the therapeutic value of cycling. Click here to watch it. It made me want to immediately charge up to the Scottish Highlands and start pedalling! What breathtaking scenery! What wonderful commitment Lee shows! Anyone care to ride the Caledonia Way (NCR78)?