Places like the Peak District and the Northern Dales are beyond the scope of a normal Sunday ride, so once or twice a year Calderdale CTC hire a van to transport bikes to locations beyond our usual haunts in West and North Yorkshire. After a trip in May to the Cyclists Service at Coxwold, we loaded up the van again and headed off to Dovedale in the Peak District.
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The aim was to have a really easy 30 mile ride using traffic free trails and quiet roads, thus opening up the ride to as many members as possible, especially those who do not ride with the Group that often. Ok there are climbs, but the routes are designed to keep these to a minimum – and we walk them if necessary !!
Setting off from Stump Cross at 8.30, we were able to have a coffee at the excellent cafe at Hulme End before setting off on the Manifold Trail just before 11.00. This is a great way to start a Group ride – 9 miles of traffic free trail through unfamiliar but lovely countryside. It even has a tunnel !
We left the Trail at Waterhouses for a very short section of main road before turning off up onto the quiet road leading up to Calton. This is quite steep at the beginning, but the climb did not last too long and we were soon at the top admiring the views over Dovedale. The climb was rewarded by an exhilarating descent past the remains of Throwley Hall, across the ancient river bridge, and into the beautiful Ilam Park.
I had reccied the National Trust cafe a couple of weeks previously; that time it was quiet, but today at 1 pm it was busy, with many visitors including a large number of cyclists – in conversation it appeared that they came from the West Midlands, and Ilam was a popular destination. One of the delights of the cafe is that it has a large lawn overlooking the beautiful gardens (reminiscent of the new garden in front of Shibden Hall) and beyond over the church across Dovedale.
After a leisurely lunch we set off through the village of Ilam and climbed past Thorpe Cloud to join the Tissington Trail at Fenny Bentley. We rode in groups along the trail, each one going at its own speed, before regrouping at the restored signal box at Hartington. From there it was a gentle descent back on road down to Hartington – heaving – it was hosting a motorbike festival -and back to where we had started 5 hours before at Hulme End. Where, in the finest traditions of the CTC, we paid another visit to the cafe. Not bad that, 3 cafe stops in 30 miles.
We were back at Stump Cross at 6.30. The sun had shone all day and it was a great day out. We had 17 riders in total – thanks especially to Mark and Rosemary for providing places in their cars.
Ride Reporter Reid Anderson