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.