Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Ride in darkest Staffordshire, the Xmas social, award and retirement

That’s a lot to catch up on, isn’t it! 
The last post publicized a 22-mile ride in Staffordshire. This was a great trip ably led by Catherine and David, up and down some pretty steep hills (they weren’t kidding about that!), and beautifully sunny if cold weather. We stopped for lunch at Flash, the highest village in Britain. So high were we in places that the wind sometimes prevented us from riding in a straight line! I find the scenery in this part of the Peak stunning, with great expanses of moorland and wonderful views from the hills of the surrounding countryside. We saw the guanacos and also dropped in at Longnor church.
Catherine and David put on a great spread at their house, an excellent venue for the first White Peak Rangers Xmas social. They presented me with this amazing pint mug (see below) which I look forward to filling with Hartington IPA! Thanks are due also to Dan and Sustrans for their support, and for the Certificate of Appreciation which I accept on behalf of all members of the group for all your hard work.
Although I am standing down as group coordinator, I want to continue as a volunteer ranger, working as and when I can on our great routes in the Peak District. I appreciate all the help you've given me over the last 4 years, and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year. Have a wonderful time over the festive season!
And now, some pictures! Alas, I failed to take any at the social. If anyone else did, feel free to post them.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

November ride Thursday 24 November 2016

Catherine and David have suggested a 22-mile jaunt in the Peak round Warslow. This will be a circular ride starting from Warslow, with lunch at Flash Bar Stores. Kick off from D&C's place with coffee at 10:15 - ride departs some time before 10:45. There will be a bit of climbing - please wait for me at the tops of the hills! - and the ride will include a field of Guanacos to see!
Should be good!
See you all there!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Revised date for White Peak Rangers' first Xmas Social

It has been decided to change the date of our Christmas do These are the details now:

Catherine and David cordially invite you to the
White Peak Rangers Rendevous Saturday 10 December at 12:30 
The Barn, Old Vicarage, Warslow, SK17 0JJ
Home made pies, salads, and cakes plus a barrel of local brewery's Whim Hartington IPA 
£5.00/head to help cover costs
Bring a bottle/partner or both plus any info about cycling holidays to share
RSVP to catherine@rookespottery.co.uk
Directions from C&D: "In the village ignore satnav and go on the B5053 towards Onecote – our drive is where the 30mph limit ends"

See you all there!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Blooming great!

A few pics of us this morning, on the multi-user path alongside the A6 in Matlock. We planted bulbs from the Sainsbury's roundabout to about halfway along the path towards the new Premier Inn. Thanks to everyone who took part, including John Owen and David & Catherine from our group, Les and Ian from the Derby Rangers, Barbara from Matlock in Bloom and Claire O'Reilly of DCC. We look forward to seeing the fruits of our labours next spring! 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Matlock in Bloom 27 October 2016

A reminder that our next workday - a workday with a difference - will be in Matlock on Thursday 27 October. We have been asked by Derbyshire County Council to plant bulbs alongside the tarmacked multi-user path, which was laid down early last year, next to the A6 Bakewell Road between the 'Sainsbury's' roundabout and Arc Leisure/Premier Inn. We can expect a fine floral display next spring! We will be helped by Matlock in Bloom supporters. Meet at 10:00 near the 'Sainsbury's' roundabout on the edge of town.  If you are coming by car, the best place to park would be on the A6, opposite where we will be working: there are spaces behind a broken line parallel to the curb. Alternatively, Sainsbury's car park or even outside my house (phone me on 07855 804451 for details). This could also be an opportunity to see the latest developments on the Matlock to Rowsley multi-user path, part of the Pedal Peak Phase II project. Bring hi-viz jackets, gardening gloves, and maybe a hand trowel - or a spade if you are local (anything larger seems unreasonable if you are travelling far!) so I'll try to bring some extra tools along.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Signing the Missing Link

On Thursday 29 September, I went by train to Uttoxeter with Les and Martin of the Derby Rangers and we met Catherine and David, Robin, and Jean from the Lichfield group at the local Tesco's. After a coffee, we rode (Martin, having injured himself recently and whose arm was in a sling, walked) towards Doveridge. All credit to Martin, he was present at our first two signing points, after which we lost sight of him!  We crossed the River Dove into Doveridge which is in Derbyshire and then turned northwards up the newly adopted section of National Route 549 which had never been signed before. This is an all on-road route through the wonderful Staffordshire countryside and planned by our late friend Jim Hudson as an improvement on the original Sustrans-proposed route via Rocester. At Norbury we had lunch at the church where the stained glass dates from the 13th century. From there we passed back into Staffordshire and Ellastone, known for its George Eliot connections. Les left us before the hilly bits to come, and Jean had already turned back somewhere before Norbury. After a thankfully brief but unavoidable short section of busy main road, we started to climb quite steeply for a while, to Stanton. There, Robin demolished a wall while standing on it to nail a sign to a telegraph pole. Fortunately, he was not hurt - the wall was! We climbed further, eventually to 300 metres, and then descended to Waterhouses. There were some staggering views once we had climbed a bit and the traffic was mostly light, which makes it a good route. We were blessed with sunny weather and conditions were perfect for the ride. Chapeaux to Catherine and David for planning the workday, and also to new, local rangers Andy and Gill, who had done preparatory work but were unfortunately unable to come on the day. And thanks to everyone for coming. I rode home by the Manifold Valley Trail to Hulme End, then took main roads to Matlock. I could have taken Route 548 and the High Peak Trail, and it concerns me that we go to a lot of trouble keeping free some very pretty routes through beautiful countryside, but when we want to get anywhere in a hurry, we resort to busy major roads! We are a long way from having the cycle routes of say, Holland where you can go from anywhere to anywhere else under safe conditions.
Postscript: since this ride, I have been with the Stoke on Trent Rangers from Stoke to Cheddleton, and then to Leek before returning to Stoke, making use of newly-signed Routes 550 and 559. Much of 550 follows the Caldon Canal and makes for a delightful trip. We have in this area of Staffordshire quite a network of cycle routes which now form part of the NCN. Let there be more!

Thank you everybody!

As most of you will know, I have been away quite a lot recently and I have only got round to passing on the contents of this post card which arrived earlier this summer, from Dan and everyone in the Sustrans Nottingham office, saying a huge thank you to our White Peak group for "everything that [we] do to support our mission". Dan adds "You have a huge patch and are doing a great job!" This year has been the busiest yet since I took over in 2013 and it's nice to know that our efforts are so much appreciated. Since we did some signing very recently (see relevant post) on a new section of the NCN, we have increased our patch even further! (which reminds me that I need to update our map and distances some time) and with Himalayan Balsam pulling and bulb planting we have branched out into new horticultural activities! So could I also pass on my thanks to the group for making all this happen. Thank you! By the way, watch out for news on bulb planting ...

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Monsal Trail social ride 16 October 2016

There will be a social ride on Sunday 16 October for members of our group and those of our neighbouring Sustrans volunteer ranger groups. The start will be outside the Crispin pub in Great Longstone and the route will include the upper part of the Monsal Trail. Meet at 09:45 for a prompt 10:00 start. 

Monday, 26 September 2016

East Midland Cycling Forum 15 October 2016

This annual event will take place this year in Chesterfield, and will be on Saturday 15 October, starting at 10:30It will follow the usual format of these events with speakers in the morning, a networking lunch followed by a ride around local infrastructure. The event will be held at the Stonegravels Parish Centre, Sheffield Road, Chesterfield S41 7JH.

The agenda:
Led ride from railway station leaving at 10.15 for 10.30 start
Welcome by Chesterfield Cycle Campaign
Launch of a new Campaign in Dronfield - progress so far - Tracey Conroy
Bennerley Viaduct - Kieran Lee
Leicester Cycling - Andy Salkeld
Progress in the Peak District - Chris Allen
Infrastructure progress in Chesterfield - Alastair Meikle
Sustrans - Dave Clasby
Other campaign groups 
Close - Hugh McClintock
Ride finishing at the railway station

Lunch will be provided by Chesterfield Cycle Campaign with donations on the day. We do need to know how many to cater for, please register for your free place using the link below and select your dietary requirements.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Signing the Route 549 missing link!

NCR549 runs Etwall to Uttoxeter and from Waterhouses to Sparklow (via the Manifold Trail). Our group will be signing the section between Uttoxeter and Waterhouses for the first time on Thursday 29 September. Meet 10:00 Costa Coffee, Tesco's, Uttoxeter.  

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Second successful public ride of 2016

Our group's second led ride for the public took place last Sunday (3 July) on the Monsal Trail and was a total success. Meeting at Hassop station, Robin took us through the "ABC" bicycle safety checks before handing over to David Gray who gave us an excellent commentary as we rode northwards on the Midland Railway route which is now the familiar cycle trail. We passed through three of the long, lit tunnels and stopped at a number of points of interest, where David explained features of the railway, lime kilns and history of the surrounding area. We stopped for an ice cream at Millers Dale station, before heading back to Hassop. 

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Ride on the new MUP Thursday 30 June 2016

Today six of us met (slight oversimplification) at Matlock railway station to investigate progress on the multi-user path from Matlock to Rowsley, and to ride over as much of it as possible. Work was being carried out on Phase 1: the building of a wall at the end of the railway path near Old Rd. The guys working there kindly let us go by and gave us the information that the next stage of this - a path over a field adjacent to Old Rd - will start next week, which is great news. Going over the level crossing at this point, we eventually found our way out onto Old Rd near the Red House carriage museum. Phase 2 goes through the Whitworth Institute gardens, where we saw a heron which has been resident there for a few weeks now. A section of path within the grounds was started some weeks ago but left incomplete, waiting for the tenant farmer who rents this piece of land to give his blessing to the project! We rode over Phase 3, completed a few months ago, where some workers were putting final touches to the fencing by the side of Peak Rail's Rowsley South station car park, to the recycling center and from there over Phase 4 though the woods to Rowsley. We chatted to the guy in charge of the building of the boardwalk and he gave us a lot of useful information about this and the MUP generally. In his estimation, the boardwalk should be finished in about 2.5 weeks (more good news!) In Rowsley, we visted briefly the church and then walked over the railway viaduct over the Derwent, which hopefully one day will be used to carry the cycle path towards the Monsal Trail. After lunch at Caudwell Mill in Rowsley, we returned by much the same route. Pics show (L2R): Melody, Ian and Mavis/me, Catherine and David at the 'Arc' level crossing. Thanks everyone for coming!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


A reminder that the second led public ride of 2016 will take place on the Monsal Trail on Sunday 3 July. This will be similar to our last ride, on the Manifold Valley Trail, and will be a leisurely ride of approximately 3 hours, guided by members of our own group. 
It will be suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities, and will include a number of stops with explanations given on the history and heritage associated with the trail by our own volunteers. 
This is a "there-and-back" ride of easy cycling along the former Midland Railway line, passing through the 4 long, lit tunnels (bring bike lights if you have them) that were re-opened in 2011, 2 shorter tunnels, and including a number of stations, as well as some stunning scenery.
The route is mostly flat and traffic free. Cycle hire is available at Hassop station. Light refreshments are available at Hassop station, Millers Dale station and Blackwell Mill cycle hire.
Meet at Hassop station car park at 10:15 for a 10:30 start. Return by 13:30.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Women's Tour of Britain comes to Derbyshire on 17 June

Stage 3 of the Women's Tour of Britain this year is from Ashbourne to Chesterfield, a distance of 112.6 km with a total ascent of 1999m. We will be staffing a Sustrans stand at Ashbourne similar to the one we operated during the 2015 Men's Tour last September in Hall Leys Park, Matlock. We had a good turnout then, so please come along and support this fantastic event. Meet at 08:30 on the Market Square.

The boardwalk has arrived!

I haven't posted anything on the new multi-user path since 9 March. This is an update. As I reported before, Phase 4 of the multi-user path consists of two stretches though a wood near the recycling plant at Rowsley South which had their final surface a few months ago, but between which there is a swamp. We were informed by Claire O'Reilly, DCC project manager, at a meeting in April that this swamp would be bridged by a section of boardwalk (I can hear the Drifters' 1964 hit as I write this ... "Under the boardwalk out of the sun, Under the boardwalk we'll be havin some fun ... ") Enough! I am pleased to announce that 50-odd metres of this has arrived (see pics above). Hopefully this whole section will be completed soon.
Phase 3 from Churchtown to Rowsley South is now complete and rideable, and is having some boundary fences erected.
Phase 1 from the level crossing near Arc Leisure towards Old Rd has had its base laid for several hundreds of metres but awaits its final surface. It still does not extend to Old Rd, although much of this has been dug out, and the final bit of this which is to pass through a field alongside Old Rd has not been started yet. We are advised not to ride this yet.
The section which shows the least progress is Phase 2, although a path is being constructed in a field adjacent to the Whitworth Institute park, which I presume is related to the greenway.
Don't forget to pencil in the ride on Thursday 30 June. No doubt more progress will have been made by then, and we will be able to see the latest developments and ride much of the path. Details later.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Signing day on Route 68 New Mills - Chisworth

There will be a signing day hosted by Joan Bennett, from New Mills to Chisworth, on Monday 6 June. Meet at New Mills bus station at 10:30. Bring whatever signage you have, particularly red 68 patches!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Some news on workdays

A welcome to Joan Bennett, the ranger for the Whaley Bridge to New Mills section of NCR68! Last Monday three of our group, Catherine and David and Paul W, were joined by Joan in renovating the signage on Route 68 from Buxton to Whaley Bridge. There was a lot to do as the previous signs were in a very dilapidated state, but they worked for some hours in gloriously sunny weather conditions, and eventually got the job done. Excellent! And well done that team! And Joan says she would like to join us whenever we are working in her area. She can be assured that her input will always be very much appreciated!  
Other news: the ride in the Hope Valley scheduled for Thursday 26 May has been postponed. It will happen either at some alternative date soon, or later in the year. Joan has suggested extending the signing of Route 68 from New Mills to Chisworth, so this could be the subject of the next workday. Watch this space - although I will also be emailing everyone as usual. 
More: you will recall that we helped out on a Sustrans stand in Hall Leys Park when the Tour of Britain passed through Matlock last year. We have been asked by Dan Robertson and by Ruth Taylor at DDDC if we would do the same in Ashbourne when the women's Tour of Britain passes through there on Friday 17 June. Please support this - it helps to raise the profile of our group! 
On the same weekend, on Sunday 19 June, some of our members will be helping in a led ride for the public in Derby organized by Rotary, to raise money for prostate cancer. Could we have some support for this too, please, although I realise it's on the same day as the Eroica Britannia event.
Later this year - some horticultural activities. I have said yes to planting bulbs alongside the tarmacked multi-user path which follows the A6 in Matlock. But we have also been asked by Rose Clarke to help their rangers pull out Himalayan Balsam in the Manifold Valley some time in June or July. Details to follow.  
Finally, Ian Dent of the Derwent Valley Cycleway Working Group is asking for helpers at a joint DVCWG/Derby Cycling Group joint stand at the Belper Goes Green event on Sat/Sun 4/5 June. This has been a very successful event in the past. Please help.      


Monday, 2 May 2016

Two workdays/rides in May

To replace the workday of 28 April, which was cancelled, an alternative has been planned, continuing the sterling work done in March between Earl Sterndale and Buxton. This will be on Monday 9 May and will consist of checking and replacing signage northwards to Whaley Bridge. Please give your support! Meet at 10:15 at the Buxton Opera House, for a prompt start at 10:30. If you have any Sustrans self-adhesive or rigid signage, especially red 68 patches, please bring it along.

Our next event will be a ride on Thursday 26 May in the Hope Valley. Meet at the village shop/church Grindleford at 09:45 for a prompt 10:00 start. 

Monday, 25 April 2016

April workday cancelled

Hi folks. 
For a variety of reasons, I have decided to cancel the workday on Thursday 28 April. Next workday will be 26 May 2016, in the Hope Valley. More details later. 
We have been asked to do something rather different in the autumn (date not known yet). You will recall that in 2014-2015 a short, tarmacked multi-user path was constructed alongside the A6, from the Derwent Way roundabout to opposite Arc Leisure in Matlock. Bulbs originally put in by 'Matlock in Bloom' volunteers were apparently dug up but not replaced. As a consequence, it seems that right now there are flowers blooming in the verges alongside the A6 into Darley Dale, but not on the Matlock side of the Darley Dale sign, which has created a rather ugly gap. Our mission, should we choose to accept it (and I've said Yes!), is to put bulbs in this autumn. I hope you all agree that this is a worthwhile job for us.

Monday, 18 April 2016

First public ride of the season a total success!

We had an excellent turn-out at our first public ride of the season, in the Manifold Valley. Starting at Hulme End, we rode over the Manifold Valley Trail and a few other, minor roads as far as Beeston Tor. Although a bit chilly, the sun shone almost continuously and kept us warm. Clyde gave a few geological explanations at various points along the route and we had a stop for refreshments at the Wetton Mill tearooms. Everybody had an enjoyable day out! Pictures: (1) Robin in the car park at Hulme End explaining where we are going; (2) waiting for folk to catch up: (3) on the gated road alongside the River Manifold; (4) the view from the cave at Nan Tor above the tearooms (Thor's Cave in the distance). To see a video of a part of the ride (thank you, Les!) click here.
Next public ride is on 3 July 2016, on the Monsal Trail. Details to follow.

Monday, 11 April 2016

First public ride of 2016 - Manifold Valley Trail Sunday 17 April

A reminder that our first led ride for the public will be next Sunday, 17 April 2016. Participants and marshals will meet at the Hulme End car park (postcode: SK17 0EZ; GR: SK103593) at 10:45 for a prompt start at 11:00 on the Manifold Valley Trail. This is a ride for families, and some geological, mining and railway facts will be explained along the way. The ride will be leisurely and over traffic-free cycle paths or minor roads, and the route is mainly flat. There will be a refreshments stop at Wetton Mill tearooms or bring a picnic! We expect to finish around 15:00. 

Pictures from the last workday

We had a good turnout - six of us in total. The new alignment of Route 68 between Earl Sterndale and Harpur Hill has recently been signed by DCC with "WPL 68" signage (that's the White Peak Loop). But we felt the need to supplement these signs, especially when two of our group rode straight past one of the council's signs, while chatting! The new route is the multi-user path built only a few weeks ago over Staker Hill. We were unable to finish the job as, at present, the connection of this MUP with Harpur Hill Road is not complete.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Workday 31 March 2016

Our next workday will be on Thursday 31 March, to sign Route 68 in the Buxton area. Meet at the green Earl Sterndale at 09:45 for a 10:00 start. 
I am told that the new MUP over Staker Hill (see last blog post for pictures) is part of the new alignment of Route 68. From Earl Sterndale, we will therefore continue to the crossroads and along the road towards the Raceway. The new Staker Hill path turns off this road to the right, goes over the hill and then drops down to Harpur Hill, where it picks up the old alignment of Route 68 and continues into Buxton.
See you all there.
Next workday/ride: Thurs 28 April in the Hope Valley.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

White Peak Loop - new Staker Hill MUP

As promised, here are some pictures I took earlier this month of the recently completed multi-user path from Harpur Hill near Buxton to the Earl Sterndale road. In order: the climb from Fiddle Street, Harpur Hill;  the track bed of the Cromford and High Peak Railway; ditto; the climb up Staker Hill; ditto; ditto; the descent to the Earl Sterndale to Buxton Raceway road. There are some wonderful views to be had from the path, which is finished in Toptrek. This is already a great asset to the area, and will form an important link in the White Peak Loop, joining Buxton to the High Peak Trail at Dowlow.

I am told that, since the pictures were taken on 11 March, this path has been signed by DCC as part of Route 68.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Sustainable Travel Forum - Edwinstowe Sat/Sun 19/20 March 2016

Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 March 2016, 9am - 9pm
Sustainable Travel Forum, YHA Sherwood Forest, Edwinstowe, NG21 9RN
A programme of workshops and rides.

Follow these links:



Sustrans led rides for the public

Our first led ride in 2016 will be on Sunday 17 April, a family and general interest ride on the Manifold Valley Trail. Meet at the Hulme End car park at from 10:45 for a prompt start at 11:00. Post code: SK17 0EZ. GR: 103593. En route we will be looking at the geology of the area, while enjoying views of the beautiful countryside! 
The next ride, along the Monsal Trail, will be on Sunday 3 July. More details to follow.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

White Peak Trail - Matlock to Rowsley

Things are really happening now! There is work going on, on all four phases of the multi-user path between Matlock and Rowsley. The first picture is of the footpath alongside the Peak Rail line between Matlock and Old Road (Phase 1), which has been widened prior to having the base laid down. Picture No 2 shows tree felling which has taken place near Willow Way, Darley Dale on Phase 2, between the Whitworth Center and Churchtown. The next pic is of part of the stretch between Churchtown and Peak Rail's Rowsley South car park (Phase 3). This has been complete for a few months now and I have shown pictures of this section before. Images 4-6 are also of Phase 3, but show considerable development compared with earlier pics I have shown. In the first two of these, which are alongside the car park, the path is nearing completion, while the last shows the base having been laid in the wood behind Ashfield Roofing. The last 4 

pictures are of Phase 4 which passes between the recycling plant and Rowsley and the final surface has been laid. Unfortunately, there is a section in the middle, of perhaps some 200 to 300 metres, which is missing at present and is in need of draining and/or building up. Pics taken on 27 Feb and 8 March. 
Latest news: Phase 3 now has its final surface all the way from Churchtown to the entrance to Peak Rail's Rowsley South station car park; more work has been done to the base of the final section of Phase 3 through the woods; a sort of depot belonging (I think) to DDDC at Rowsley has been cleared, moving the trail very close to where the bridge over the A6 used to be in olden times; and the path at the southern end near Arc Leisure has been further widened and looks like it might receive a base of limestone chippings very soon!