Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Marple Bike Ride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marple Bike Ride. Show all posts

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Thursday 4 October 2018 – Another Circuit from Marple (Rose Hill)


This was a very similar outing to that on 21 March 2017 with Paul and Andy. I omitted the Fox Inn loop and extended the route to 28 km by heading through Mellor to visit recently bereaved Linda in Hollins Lane.

Starting on a dull day down the Middlewood Way for 6.5 km, with an annoying headwind today, the track passes through a short corrugated iron tunnel before reaching the station at Nelson Pit in Higher Poynton.


After leaving the Middlewood Way to pass under the Macclesfield Canal, the route enters Lyme Park at West Parkgate. There’s a long and gentle ascent to another gate, pictured below beside a wall that needs to be rebuilt. On this ascent I encountered a group of park rangers including Nigel from SWOG. The rangers were learning about the geology of the park, and Nigel told me about some erratics near The Cage.

Nigel has also told me that he will be doing some dry stone walling. Apparently there is a constant need for wall maintenance around the park, for which the volunteers are greatly valued.


Lyme Hall soon came into view. It’s a magnificent building. I must find time to go round it sometime.


On a short promontory beyond the hall, is the Cage, originally a hunting lodge but later used as a park-keeper's cottage and as a lock-up for prisoners.


I went onto the promontory to investigate the boulders referred to by Nigel as being of geological interest. They apparently originated in the Lake District and they must have been deposited here by a glacier, some time ago. The first is shown below.


The second boulder, not far from the Cage, is a bit bigger.


As I was taking the above picture, I spotted a couple of the red deer whose ancestors have lived here since at least mediaeval times.


The day remained overcast apart from a brief spell of sunshine that I enjoyed by the Peak Forest Canal. Meanwhile my route exited the park and spent some time on the Gritstone Trail path, with views towards New Mills.


Though the picture doesn’t necessarily show it, this tree was absolutely laden with red berries. I imagine it comes under siege from time to time from migrating birds.


Steep paths with a dollop of loose rocks lead to the Peak Forest Canal. En route my back tyre picked up a metal tack. Had this happened last week, I’d have been in trouble, but earlier this morning I had called in at Bike Shak to buy the correct adaptor for my pump. It was needed, as was my spare inner tube.

The canal was littered with leaves, a first sign of autumn despite the lingering green of the foliage.


After a few comfortable kilometres, the route leaves the canal to descend to Strines, then steeply up to Greenclough Farm, where the usual car museum was on display.


Continued ascent to The Banks leads to a pleasant path beside a golf course, and onwards to Mellor. My usual route goes down a rocky track to Roman Lakes, then on roads to Rose Hill, but today I chose to visit Linda in Marple Bridge before taking the main road back to base.

It turned out to be a 28 km route with about 500 metres ascent. Whilst it took me 4 hours 40 minutes in total, the ‘moving time’ was just 2 hours 40 minutes.


It was a late lunch…

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Tuesday 21 March 2017 – A Bike Ride from Marple


Parkrunners Paul and Andy joined me for a morning jaunt in a break from the current showery weather.

Paul’s roomy Espace took us to the end of the Middlewood Way in Marple for a 9.30 am start. 

The Middlewood Way is a ten-mile (16 km) "linear park" between Macclesfield  and Rose Hill, Marple, that was opened on 30 May 1985 by Dr David Bellamy. It follows the route of the former Macclesfield, Bollington and Marple railway, which had operated between 1869 and 1970.

We enjoyed a 6 km warm up along the track bed, skilfully dodging dog walkers and joggers, as far as Poynton Coppice, where a couple of birdlike sculptures marked our departure down Shrigley Road.


We met a chap known to Paul, who we encountered again at West Park Gate (he had taken a short cut), where we started the first proper climb of the day, into Lyme Park. I paused to record the pretty woodland – Andy was far ahead and Paul is just visible in this scene.


There’s a gate leading from Hase Bank Wood to the tarmac of the park’s roads and a test for mountain bikers, the ascent and descent of a little hill called Knott. My still sore shoulder discouraged me from going over Knott today, and Andy’s wimpishness ruled him out. Paul failed to ride up the hill due to a lack of traction in the mud, despite his gleaming new bike with its knobbly 27½ inch tyres.

However, he excelled himself by riding down the steep east side of the hill without (despite our encouragement) falling off. It’s steeper than it looks and braking on the slippery surface is totally ineffectual.


“Well, that was fun.”


The tarmac saw us reach Lyme Hall and enjoy a cuppa at the picnic tables next to the National Trust office. Andy had thoughtfully brought enough cake to keep us going all morning. Then we continued up past the hall, the largest house in Cheshire, towards the gate at the East Lodge.


There are good views from up here, past The Cage – originally a hunting lodge and later put to various uses including that of a prison – and on to Greater Manchester. The parkrun route that we completed last August passes The Cage after a long ascent.


The red deer gave Andy a threatening growl, so Paul came to his rescue and shooed them away.


Beyond the boundary of the park there were some ‘interesting’ rocky, muddy, stony paths including this boardwalk diversion around a crumbling bridge. Here Paul realised again that the very wide handlebars on his new bike are something of an encumbrance.


After the excitement of a long rocky descent to the A6 road (and a long wait for Andy to walk down the hill) we were happy to join the easy towpath along the Peak Forest Canal at bridge number 27.


The canal offered a respite that we all enjoyed before resuming the rigours of this particular route.


We could have returned to Marple via the easy towpath, or by a low level route from Strines via Roman Lakes. But we chose to descend to Strines and ride (walk, in Andy’s case) a steep circuit via the Fox Inn. The inn wasn’t open but its picnic benches provided a good venue for more tea and cake.

Back at Strines, where Andy might as well have left his bike earlier, we set off steeply again towards the golf course, above which we passed before taking the long and enjoyable descent down Linnet Clough to Bottom’s Bridge. Here are Paul and Andy at the bottom of the rocky descent (which is actually out of shot to the right), with just a short ride along roads to return us to the car park at Rose Hill.


More coffee and cake from Jeanette, on return to base, rounded off a most enjoyable outing of about 26 km with 800 metres ascent, taking a leisurely 3 hours.


We must do more of these!

NB For the record, I was on my 1990 Shogun bike today – a bit bumpy over the rocks, but it was already filthy, and meant I only had one bike to clean when I got home…

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sunday 16 August 2015 – Bike Ride – Marple and Lyme Park


The reason for all these bike rides will become apparent shortly. Today’s outing from Rose Hill in Marple was on yet another lovely sunny day, but thankfully lacking Pyrenean style heat, pressure sores and all that jazz.

I headed for over 6 km down the , together with a large congregation of walkers, runners, horse riders and other cyclists. We did actually congregate for some time whilst a farmer moved his herd of Guernseys from a field on one side of the track to one on the other side.

Zooming past Higher Poynton Station, where previous rides have left the old railway line at Nelson Pit, I overshot the next exit and did a few ‘there and back’ kilometres before leaving the railway at a small car park after getting stuck for a while behind a fat, deaf man on a very slow bike, and heading down under the canal and up a hill. Doubling back to the left took me to the bottom of a hill, where a gate to the right (the West Gate) offered access to , and a steady pull up a rough track to another gate.

Beyond here, tarmac leads to the Hall, pictured above. This cycle route goes fast past the car park before doubling back to the right to face the hall as shown, looking back at the shocked faces of those who have just nearly been decimated by the silent but deadly Stumpjumper (my bike – the bell does work but people don’t seem to hear it).

Further up the hill the tarmac gave way to a stony path with views across Cheshire beyond the square hunting lodge on top of a hill that can be seen for miles around.


The track drops down to the East Gate, then a rough section goes down to the old bridge shown below. This bridge has recently been deemed unsafe for vehicular traffic by the Highways Agency. A footpath, on which my bike is positioned, has been constructed to by-pass the closed road. This is no good to horse riders, nor to the farmer who travels by Land Rover to shepherd his herd of sheep. So the fence erected to block the road is constantly being pulled down. Apparently some locals think it should have been demoted to bridleway status and not closed off, though that still wouldn’t be of much help to the farmer. The footpath proved too narrow for both me and my bike, resulting in a few skin rips from Stumpy’s sharper protuberances.


A steep push from the bridge over slippery rocks led to roads (turn left at the first road, then right at the junction) that traversed high above New Mills and Furness Vale, dropping eventually towards Whaley Bridge.

There were fine views down to New Mills and across the valley to Kinder Scout.


A fairly obscure bridleway* took a left past a 4x4 that was virtually blocking the rose bush lined route (more scratches), just before entering Whaley Bridge. This leads down to Furness Vale, where the Peak Forest Canal provided my next conduit. I could alternatively have taken the road into Whaley Bridge and picked up the canal there, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun as on the rocky paths I took.

The towpath passes large mooring areas before reaching New Mills and passing the unmistakeable aroma of Love Hearts emanating from the sweet factory, pictured ahead in the next image.


I turned right at the first bridge after the sweet factory, along a track that led down then up to Hague Bar. Straight across the main road there, and the last serious climb of the day took me at walking pace behind a couple of nervous hikers who thought they were about to be run over, up to the metal bench by Brook Bottom.

Turning left, I eschewed a visit to the Fox Inn, in favour of a cuppa in Marple with Graham and Sue, after returning to Rose Hill by the same bumpy route as described in my last report on .

Here’s my route - 35 km with 700 metres ascent, taking nearly 3 hours.


* On the descent to Whaley Bridge pass a house on the left where there’s a Public Footpath sign. A few metres further on, by the next house, is a bridleway sign. Take this bridleway down steeply between rose bushes and houses then turn left down a fast, narrow path to a gate. Continue along a grass track, keeping at a contouring height and not dropping down to another gate. After rising slightly, the grass track turns to stone and descends to a stream and gate. Beyond here a narrow rocky path leads to tarmac, and the descent to Furness Vale.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Friday 7 August 2015 – A Bike Ride from Rose Hill


The picture above is a ‘prologue’, taken on 2 August, the day after I returned from the Pyrenees, on the Trans Pennine Trail in Stretford.

Whilst it was hot and dry in the Pyrenees, the greenery indicates what the weather has been like at home. The picture is to show Markus that I’m trying to prepare for the next trip!

After a few local rides on the flat, I decided I needed to go up a few hills. The most convenient hilly routes are from Marple, so on Friday I pottered off to Rose Hill Station, from where there’s a nice flat warm-up along the Middlewood Way.

After nearly 6 km you reach Nelson Pit and the Boars Head, where we were on Wednesday. You can carry on further along the Middlewood Way, which is well served with cafés and toilets, but I left it here and pedalled a few metres east to the Macclesfield Canal.


Again, it’s pretty flat all the way back into Marple.


The only hills involve tight manoeuvring over narrow bridges where the towpath moves from one bank to the other.

In Marple I turned right down the pretty Peak Forest Canal.


Soon after the drawbridge shown below, some steps lead down to the left (in fact the right, behind the camera, as this photo was taken looking back). I should have been able to descend these steps easily on the full suspension bike, but I chickened out.


A steep descent crosses the main road and heads up towards Strines Station. Shortly before that, a left turn also rises sharply to a farm and a slightly technical bridleway past another farm to Roman Lakes.

Beyond the potholed Roman Lakes track, a right turn up Low Lea Road takes you past a Lottery funded mill restoration project and over a hill to Marple Bridge.

Left at the lights, then first right into Brabyns Park leaves the rider with a choice of uphill options and dead ends to regain the Peak Forest Canal in the middle of the Marple Locks system. Beyond that it’s worth pedalling on over the aqueduct as far as Romiley tunnel.


Then it’s back along the towpath to cross the canal between the fifth and sixth locks from the bottom of the system, and a route back to Rose Hill along minor roads. (Or you could simply go along the canal and turn right along the A626 to return to Rose Hill.)

A good couple of hours’ scenery and exercise, if a bit sparse on the ‘hill’ front. That will come later…

27 km, 300 metres ascent, taking about 2 hours.


A pleasant outing on the bike; basically a warm-up for something a bit more challenging. I’ve not marked my start point (Rose Hill), but there are numerous places from which you could start this ride.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Wednesday 11 January 2012 - Marple Mellor Night Ride with the Manchester Mountain Bikers

Walc 'leads' a 'night ride'

Last night I enjoyed my second trip out with the Manchester Mountain Bikers, this time on a ‘night ride’, my main reason for getting together with this club.

A ride that lasts from 6.30 to 8.30 pm would more correctly be described as an ‘evening ride’, but it was dark, so who cares.  It was also fine, after another ‘mizzly’ day, and thankfully (whilst Liverpool were thrashing City in the rain in central Manchester) all we got by way of precipitation on this ride was a little very light drizzle.

Roman Lakes being closed, we started from Arkwright Road in Marple, taking care not to damage a pristine hedge, and soon after 6.30 I headed off with Walc, today’s leader, pictured above, Keith who I’d met before, and Steve, Adam, Richard, Austin and Poley, down the rutted lane towards Roman Lakes, then up the steep, rough lane to emerge at the golf course in Mellor.

This was the steepest part of the outing, which although ridable in its entirety somehow did seem to be mainly uphill.  Luckily Keith was ‘sweeping’ on this ascent, and arrived at the top carrying my rear mudguard and a foot protector that I’d lost without noticing.  Thanks Keith.  The other foot protector came off (my trail shoes turn out to be two bulky for these protectors, normally worn with trainers) and the mudguard was re-attached, though I spent the rest of the evening nervous about losing it again.

We were soon off again along the pleasant single-track to Brook Bottom and (sadly) past the Fox Inn.  Around here we lost Poley, allegedly due to a light failure, but I think he just fancied a drink. We then turned left to complete an interesting circuit via a fudge brownie break and Mellor Moor, with fine views of the lights of the surrounding towns, before regaining the single-track leading back down to the Fox Inn, which again we ignored, this time in favour of a steep but enjoyable descent to Strines Station on another track that hadn’t previously seen the wheels of one of my bikes.

Then it was easily back to the start via the lower track past Roman Lakes, chatting with Keith about bike trips to the Alps and Pyrenees.

I think Walc had intended to ascend back up to go around the golf course and down to Roman Lakes by a more sporting route, but it seems that he missed the turn.  I was quite happy with the short figure of eight circuit.

My new lights worked very well, and there was hardly any speed sacrifice due to the darkness, but a minor gear problem meant that I stayed in a low gear throughout the ride in a bid not to get covered in oil, so I tended to bring up the rear, being naturally the slowest on steep ascents and descents as well.  Sorry, folks, if I kept you waiting.

Here’s the approximate route – about 14 km, with 350 metres ascent, taking just over 2 hours.

Our 14km route included about 350 metres ascent and took about 2 hours

My Garmin Gadget produced the following data:

As noted above, we returned extremely muddy.  So when I got home I dumped my track suit straight into a sink to wash off the worst of the mud.  Oops, my camera was still in the pocket.  It drowned.  It will now sit in a bowl of rice for a few days in a (probably futile) bid to resuscitate it.  The memory card was undamaged, though, and at least it wasn’t my new camera…

All in all a very pleasant little excursion, despite the camera mishap.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A Short Journey in the Peak District - Part 2

The beautifully manicured surface of the High Peak Trail

Yesterday’s return from Bonsall to Marple was as enjoyable, if less eventful than the previous day, which featured sections of bridleway almost impenetrable by humans, let alone a human with a bike.  The bike was slimy from the all over spray I’d applied before setting off from Graham’s house in Marple, and the act of lifting it over gates and fences, together with having to deal with the disintegration of my front mudguard, transferred much of that slime to my body and clothing.

So I hope I didn’t transfer too much grime to Ken and Anne’s house in Wensley, or to Sue and Phil’s in Bonsall.

Yesterday’s route saw me flying down the hill to Cromford on a steed cleaned by the grassy meadows north of Tearsall Farm the previous evening, and with no technical problems at all I remained pristinely clean until I had to load the bike into the car at the end of the day.

Intake Lane took me up to the incline plane that marks the start of the High Peak Trail.  Up the incline, and two further inclines, and along the trail for about 10 km (pictured above) seems easy enough.  But a moderate head wind made sure that I worked hard to make progress, even on this easy terrain.

Leaving the trail by Minninglow Hill, I pottered along country lanes to Biggin Dale, and through lots of gates to Hartington.

The Beresford Tea Rooms provided coffee and a huge piece of chocolate cake.

A mixture of quiet lanes and enjoyable bridleways drew me north west over undulating terrain.  A band of rain enabled me to test my waterproofs.  The trousers ripped.

The day had started in bright sunshine, but by the time I came into view of Shutlingsloe gloom prevailed, though by 4.30 pm I was enjoying tea in the sunshine in Graham’s stunning garden.

Here’s the first view of Shutlingsloe, as it appears from Tagsclough Hill.

Shutlingsloe, from Tagsclough Hill

Today’s bridleways were a delight compared with some of yesterday’s; all good fun, especially the swooping descent on the edge of Macclesfield Forest to Trentabank.  Just beyond here I stopped for lunch at 2.15 at the Leather’s Smithy Inn.  They had no food, so I zoomed on down to join the Macclesfield Canal at Gurnett.

A leisurely pootle up the towpath to Marple concluded this enjoyable two day outing.

The route is here.  A slide show (61 images) is here.

On the towpath near Marple

Here’s the route – approx 50 miles each day, 2200 metres ascent on the first day, 1800 metres on day 2.  Day 1 took 10 hours (including over 2 hours of stops); Day 2 took a little over 8 hours (including about 1 hour of stops).

The two day route - 100 miles with 4000 metres ascent