Monday, 14 May 2018

May Work Day

As all good work days should, we started the day making sure we knew where we were going! Only Andrew really knew  the problems with signage  in this area and so we were very reliant on him to point us in the right direction. 

So, we started from the car park at Hope station and our first task was to look at signage needs from here onto NCN Rte 6, which is about 1/4 mile away. With that all sorted we headed on into Hope for sandwiches and then retraced ourselves back to the route. Once away from the main A6187 what  a lovely route this is. There is a bit of an initial climb up to Aston, but it is not too bad and on a sunny day like today it offers wonderful views across the Hope valley. 

 One or two more signs required to confirm to cyclists they are on the correct route, but otherwise few navigational concerns all the way across the hillside to Thornhill.
 We were able to make a few improvements to the existing signage but it soon bacame clear to us that we will need to make a full list of signage requirements and then return later in the year to put them all in place.

From Thornhill the route climbs a bit further up the hillside until levelling out to give some lovely views out over the Derwent Valley and an intersection with the Thornhill Trail. This was the old rail line used by the construction company building Ladybower reservoir, but it now makes for a most delightful traffic free ride. Although it is ideal for cycling along towards Ladybower (and is the existing official route) Andrew has asked us to consider a route change which would potentially eliminate the section along the trail, and introduce a new section along the very quiet, little used road from Thornhill up to the main road at Yorkshire bridge. There are a number of reasons for wanting to do this, and a couple of alternative ideas, which we will be investigating further. What was very clear was the fact that signage in this area does need some urgent attention to meet current Sustrans standards.

Having contemplated whether the route should go across the dam wall, or not, we adjourned for much needed refreshment at the Yorkshire Bridge Inn. There Dan gave us a training session on "how to sign a route", which certainly covered a lot of the areas we are likely to come up with in the next few months.

The final task for the day was to retrace our steps back to the point where we had joined the Thornhill trail but then, rather than staying on NCN Rte 6 we deviated onto a lovely descent along the Thorhill trail which leads almost into Bamford. Andrew was keen to look at this as a potential link route to Bamford station and we all agreed it would be excellent, if only we can get permission to use a short stretch of private road. We deduced that this access lane was probably owned by the local Quaker community and so, in for a penny...., we went and knocked on their door. The guy we spoke to was very friendly and suggested we write to them to put forward our proposals. He was surprised we were even asking as he said most people just used it as a "right of way" anyway! Maybe they'll give us permission to sign it

So, all in all a really interesting day. I was not aware previously of the Sheffield to Castleton NCN route 6, but I intend to try and ride all of it as soon as possible (even if not on such a fantastic day as today!). Otherwise, we will gather together everything we need to complete the signing on our next visit so that users travelling in either direction along NCN rte 6 can be confident about following the route easily.

Thanks to Andrew, Dan, David & Catherine and Paul for all their contributions today.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Giant Leggo!

Seen on the High Peak Trail near Hopton Tunnel.

Parks Inn link to Staker Hill MUP

Another link in the White Peak Loop is complete! When DCC built the multi-user path across Staker Hill, over two years ago, the link from it to Route 68 coming from Buxton was not finalized due to planning problems. Now a last stretch of path has been constructed at Harpur Hill, next to the Parks Inn pub. Up until now the only way of accessing the Staker Hill route was via Fiddle St which some of our rangers will remember we were not allowed to sign, not even temporarily ( Now all has been resolved: this short section of new path is of an excellent quality, part tarmac, part Toptrek, and leads quickly to the next section, which was built from the successful bid for Government funding in 2013. Bravo DCC! Chapeau bas!

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Matlock - Rowsley multi-user path formal opening

Claire O'Reilly has informed us of the formal Opening Day of the multi-user path between Matlock and Rowsley. This will be on Tuesday 27 March at 13:00, by the railway crossing, with refreshments at Arc afterwards.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Signing Route 680 along the Monsal Trail

Catherine, David (R) and David (G) were joined by Sustrans' Midlands Volunteer Co-ordinator, Dan Robertson on 4 December 2017 to undertake further signing of the Monsal Trail. Although David and Catherine had (very impressively) cycled all the way over, we all joined up to start at the Coombs Road viaduct in Bakewell; eventually finished up by fixing the final sign onto a post in the Wye Dale car park (4 miles out of Buxton).

The event had been postponed by a week because of inclement weather on the original work day. This time the weather could not have been better with perfect blue skies and bright sunshine, albeit a bit winter watery. David (G) soon demonstrated why he shouldn't be let anywhere near a hammer as the first nail bent over and the "professionals" within the group had to rescue the position. Dan provided masterful Quality Assurance over the entire proceedings and we all fully accepted that these signs are the only thing that most people ever see or recognise about the National Cycle Network. Therefore they have to be displayed in the correct place to be seen and then positioned perfectly with "no creases".

Clyde had done a wonderful job in preparing all the signs with waymarked distances at strategic points along the length of the trail. Although he was unable to come and help us put them up I am sure he will be pleased that they are now doing a useful job helping cyclists appreciate just how far it is to cycle to different points along the trail.

As well as being a most useful work day this was once again a great opportunity to catch up with other members of the White Peak Rangers group, as well as getting updates from Dan about all the projects he is currently involved with across the region. Not only did he do a very good job of "selling" the Brompton concept to a couple of people we met along the trail, but he also introduced us all to the idea of his travelling coffee filter, which I would certainly welcome as a Christmas present, (another action point for me to add on to my Christmas present wish-list!).

The signing took longer than we had expected and so we didn't get further than Wye Dale car park on this event. We will need to plan another day to conclude the route into, and out of Buxton. We should really extend all the way down the High Peak trail to Cromford, which will certainly keep us going for a few more workdays yet.

Quite a few additional Action Points came out of this workday with regards to signing and I will email these separately. We were definitely a pair of scissors short in the "signers' tool-kit", but we will know better for next time. Thanks to Catherine who saved the day by pulling a "claw" hammer out of the bag.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Signing workday and ride

There will be a workday to put up a few destination patches on the Monsal Trail (Route 680), followed by a ride to Buxton, and then Harpur Hill to see the development of the final Parks Inn spur section of the Staker Hill multi-user path (work in progress - completion expected Jan 2018). 

Meet 10:00 Monday 27 November 2017 at Coombs Road viaduct, Bakewell (the start (or finish!) of the trail). We will sign from there up the Monsal Trail to the Wyedale car park and, if time allows, in Buxton (but not Harpur Hill yet) before returning either by the Monsal Trail or by the High Peak Trail. 

Bring sandwiches although, if it's cold, we could consider stopping at the Buxton Morrison's. 

NB They say that Buxton has its own microclimate! The forecast for Matlock is no rain at all throughout the day, although humidity is always over 80%, but for Buxton rain is predicted the whole day! Temperatures 6-7 C with a significant westerly wind. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Bennerley viaduct ride Thursday 2 November 2017

The Bennerley Viaduct used to carry the Great Northern Railway line between Derby and Nottingham, over the Erewash valley near Ilkeston. It was bought by Sustrans for £1 some years ago. It is of wrought iron construction, similar to the Meldon Viaduct in Devon (which is on the Devon C2C cycleway). There is a plan to renovate this bridge and make it part of a new cycleway; possibly even to turn it into a mecca for cyclists by one day adding hostels, tea rooms, a pub?  Work has already begun and future developments will depend on sponsorship and awards from charity. Kieran Lee is the project manager.

I have just heard about a ride led by Ian Dent of the Sustrans ranger group. It will leave Derby Market Square at 10:00 on 2 November and follow Route 6 to Long Eaton before turning up the Erewash Valley Trail to Cotmanhay, arriving at around noon. We will be given a tour of the viaduct by Kieran, followed by lunch at the nearby Bridge pub. The return will be via Route 672 the Great Northern Greenway (I think). More details may appear here later, if I find out more. Do come along - it will be great meeting up with old friends!

NB This is not a Sustrans-organized ride for the public and everyone takes part at their own risk.