Sunday, 2 February 2020

The Manifold Way

The Manifold Way (sometimes erroneously called the Manifold Trail) runs for almost 9 miles from Waterhouses to Hulme End in Staffordshire. 
It follows the route of what was once a narrow gauge (2ft 6ins) railway opened in 1904 and closed in 1934.
The path surface is tarmac but of poor quality being potholed and patched.  It follows the Rivers Hamps and Manifold which flow underground for part of their length.
Due to the steep sides of the valley mobile phone and GPS signals are poor.

Strava map of the  route

Quick check of the camera before we start

The path starts at the car park in Waterhouses.
Payment is required but there are toilets here.
Sadly the bike hire has been closed

A tarmac path leads down to the main road (The A532) in Waterhouses.

Take great care crossing the main road.
The white ghost bikes indicate that two cyclists have been killed here.

A nice downhill stretch to start the ride.

We follow the River Hamps (left) along the valley riding over lots of bridges.

Here we arrive at Wetton Mill with it's excellent cafe. Sadly not open today (Monday).  Most times and in better weather the cafe would be busy with cyclists and walkers.

 Ahead now is Swainsley  tunnel.  Watch out for motor vehicles as this section of the path is actually a public road.

Yet another bridge over the river.

                        A tributary flows down from the hillside.
A new bridge on the approach to Hulme End and the best bit of tarmac that we have seen all day.

 A generous (free) car park lies at Hulme End together with a nice visitor centre and an excellent cafe - fortunately open on this cold winter's day and we appreciated a hot drink and tasty cakes.

Steve poses outside the cafe.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Melbourne Meander

Not the best time of the year to be out cycling, what with the dreary weather, the low temperatures and the muddy paths, but my pal Alan spotted a better day in prospect so we jumped on our Ebikes and rode off in the direction of the The Trent Valley.  He was right of course, and it turned out to be an most enjoyable day out.
The Trent Valley lies to the South of Derby, and our route followed NCN Route 66 (the Derby Orbital Route) to Swarkestone via Sinfin,  then following NCN R6 to Melbourne for a lunch stop.
Returning by road via Ticknall, Milton, Repton, re-crossing theTrent to Willington and Findern.  Pausing at Willington for refreshment.
Total distance 26 miles.

                                     STRAVA route map

                   Alan leads through Millennium Park in Littleover

                 We pass through the housing estate at Sinfin

Sinfin Moor Lane is traffic free but has a poor surface.  It leads us through to join NCN R6 en route to the Trent and Mersey Canal towpath at Swarkestone

                        And here we are at the canal towpath.

Approaching Cuttle Bridge, where the A5132 road crosses the canal.
Oncoming cyclists also enjoying  the spell of reasonable weather.

                      Entering the village of Melbourne.

 Our destination was Melbourne Pool and the adjacent Melbourne Hall Cafe for lunch.

Must say it all looked much better when these two photos were taken on a previous trip in the Summer.

             But back home now as Alan speeds through Findern.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Bingley to Leeds

I was so impressed with my ride along the towpath of the Liverpool and Leeds Canal in August that I went along again in October for second time to see more of it.
Both rides were based on Leeds, the first an out and back ride, but for this ride took the train to Bingley and cycled back to Leeds.
At Bingley are a series of impressive locks. - one group of five and a further group of three.  Boats are raised/lowered a height of 60 feet at the five rise locks and half that distance by the smaller staircase locks.
Below is an aerial view of the Five Lock System where we start the ride having travelled by train from Sheffield via Leeds. The locks are a short distance North of Bingley Station but not difficult to find as the canal is next to the station.
Cost-wise an economical journey, by using a Derbyshire Wayfarer ticket for the Derby/Sheffield return trip, a single Sheffied to Bingley and a single Leeds back to Sheffield.  Total cost £16.70.

Click on pictures to enlarge to full screen.

Turn right from the railway station, crossing the bridge over the Bingley by pass and the railway. This is your first view of the canal.

Follow the right side path to the bottom of the three rise lock.

On your right is the Damart factory where thermal underwear is manufactured.

First sight of the five rise locks.

The five rise staircase locks lift boats 60 feet. This impressive structure was built in 1772 and although the wooden lock gates have been replaced several times, most of the stonework is original.

A steep climb up this path to the top of the flight.

Passing this reminder of the length of this ride.

Above the top lock we see on the right a popular cafe. The building was originally a stables which housed horses which used to pull the boats before the days of steam and diesel propulsion.
From the top lock turn round and head down the steep path adjacent path and on our way to Leeds.

This bridge takes the towpath over the canal to the left side.

 A view looking downstream from the crossover bridge.

 Shipley Wharf.  This is not my bike, but a "decorative" feature.

Sustrans milepost at Shipley.

 The towpath is Route 66 of the National Cycle Network, not to be confused with Regional Route 66 which encircles the City of Derby.
Regional route signs have a blue background to the numbers.

 Well on our way to Leeds now.

And here we are in back the City of Leeds.

An excellent ride alongside the Liverpool and Leeds Canal., mainly on good surfaces with no hills.  Lots of interesting industrial architecture to see and some nice countryside views as well.
Good access from Leeds Railway Station with train links along the line towards Skipton.