Riding The Sandstone Way Part I

Riding the Sandstone Way part I

Sandstone Way Marker
Sandstone Way end marker in Hexham.

 

You may well be asking what is the Sandstone Way, well it is a little known long distance mountain bike route between Berwick-upon-tweed and Hexham, John and myself rode the route over four days back in September 2015.

 

The Sandstone Way is around 120 miles or 190 kilometers from start to finish. The route follows the Sandstone ridge in Northumberland and passes through many places of special interest throughout its length.

Day 0 – Seahouses ( Friday 25 September 2015)

In order to reduce the travel times on Saturday, we drove up to Seahouses on Friday afternoon and booked into one of the hotels there.

Seahouses’ harbour at Dusk

We stayed at the Links Hotel which I have used before and since this expedition as they do some great food and the prices aren’t too bad. Remember to check out their restaurant if you are ever in Seahouses, it is well worth it.

 

 

Day 1 Berwick to Wooler (Saturday 26 September 2015)
Berrick Foreshore
Berwick Quay

We awoke early Saturday morning grabbed breakfast, packed our bags and got the biking gear together. Sarah then drove myself and John up to Berrick to start our epic mountain bike adventure.

 

The Sandstone Way starts on the Quay at Berwick and heads south following national cycle networks route 1.  This part of route one is also a part of the Coast & Castles. As I had ridden the Coast & Castles route previously I was quite familiar with this section.

NCN Route 1 from Berwick to Beal.

This part of the Sandstone Way is very easy to follow because it is well signed, it takes us down the coast along the cliffs and quiet lanes to Beal.

 

After riding through the golf course we cross Goswick Sands which was a military firing range.Take note of the warning signs and look out for exploding livestock.

Danger!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have visited the Barn a number of times over the years whilst we had been staying in the area. There has obviously been a lot of investment in the business because the building and grounds have improved a lot since our very first visit. There used to be a bird of prey center here as well but I forgot to check if it was still there on this occasion.

Coffee stop at The Barn at Beal

After coffee & cake at the Barn, we turn away from the sea and head inland continuing along the Sandstone Way towards Wooler.

We will be heading back up this part of NCN Route 1 in July 2017, as we are going to document the Coast & Castles route from Newcastle to Edinburgh.

Once we did turn inland we were riding on quiet lanes and old farm tracks and bridleways. The going was OK but the ground was damp due to recent rain which made some sections harder to ride than others.

John riding down the old tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The scenery offered plenty to photograph if you had time, this unusual tree acted as both an interesting subject and bike stand!

Although recent rains had softened up the ground things were not all that bad weatherwise as the sun was out and the bikes only dragged a moderate amount of mud along with them.

Dirty bike just before joining the B6348 near Chatton

On day one we covered around 35 miles, we rode varied terrain and saw some great land and sea-scapes. To experience more of the adventure of our first day of the Sandstone Way check out our Day 1 video.

 

Cycling along the Phoenix Greenways

Earlier this year, the second of May to be precise, myself and Sarah set off to ride a nice selection of trails known collectively as the Phoenix Greenways. They are situated on the boarder of Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire.

Phoenix Greenways Map
The Phoenix Greenways

The Phoenix Greenways are a network of easy access off-road trails and quiet lanes. Once old railways and collieries, the trails are rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of industry.

 

 

The Greenways link the Five Pits, Silverhill and Pleasley-Teversal Trails to countryside and popular local attractions.

The route we rode started at Grassmoor Country Park, then we hit the Five pits Trail, which we followed down to Tibshelf where we jumped on to the Silverhill trail. We then followed The Silverhill trail North East until we reached the link going East to Skegby Trail. The Skegby trail took us North to Pleasley Pit Country park where followed a bridleway and did a short stint on the road to reach Hardwick Hall. After Lunch we headed for the Teversal Trail and followed that South until we rejoined the Silverhill Trail once more, then on to the Five Pits trail back to Grassmoor.

The route was a pleasant one, the initial trail you ride, The Five Pits Trail, is rather lumpy and may be too much for a complete beginner, however the rest of the trails on the route are easy going with the occasional sharp ascent or descent thrown in where the trails cross roads.

We really enjoyed the Phoenix Greenways, and would recommend them to you if you are able to travel to the area. You can check out our video of the route we rode below.

You can also find out more about the Phoenix Greenways from Derbyshire county council here.

Until next time stay safe on those trails.
Steve

 

Cycling The Tissington Trail

 

On Sunday 7 June we uploaded our latest video entitled “Cycling the Tissington Trail”Tissington_trail

The ride is a favorite of ours and is an estimated 30 miles which should take 3-4 hours including a stop for lunch.

Although there are many places to join the trail throughout it’s length, our usual location to meet is the visitor center at Parsley Hay, here you will find ample paid parking, a bike shop with hire facilities as well as small cafe serving snacks and refreshments.

 

map2_tissington

As you can see from the map, the Tissington and High Peak Trails merge close to Parsley Hay.

In this video we are riding the Tissington Trail that I have marked in blue, it heads south through fantastic Derbyshire countryside and finishes in Ashbourne.

 

On the route there are numerous places to stop and have a picnic or take a break.

Although the Tissington Trail is popular with both walkers and cyclists alike, it is never quite as busy as the Monsal trail which is close by. I have two more videos to be posted in the future which use part of the Tissington / High Peak trails so look out for those.

Enjoy the video and I hope it gives you some motivation to get out on your bikes.

Steve

 

 

 

Riding the Monsal Trail

 

 Riding the Monsal Trail

Riding the Monsal Trail
Phil and Alan Riding the Monsal Trail

The Monsal Trail in Derbyshire is almost 9 miles long and stretches from Coombs Road near Bakewell to Topley Pike Junction in Wye Dale. We enjoy riding the Monsal Trail, It is a great route which the whole family can enjoy riding regardless of the their level of cycling proficiency.

Hassop station, is usually our starting location of choice as it is a great resorce along the Monsal trail, it has a Cafe, Bike Hire and a book shop as well as ample paid parking.

The route follows part of the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction railway. The railway was closed in 1968 and passed in to the hands the Peak District National Park in 1980, at this time numerous tunnel  sections were closed for safety. Roads or paths were used to link the various sections as a result.

Work costing in the region of £2.25M started on the four tunnel sections in 2009 in order to make them safe, this work was completed in 2011 creating the continuous trail that we know today.

Please enjoy the video

Steve

Cycling the Don Valley Trail (TPT)

The Trans Pennine Trail – Don Valley

This video shows us cycling the Don Valley trail, which is one of our regular cycle routes, our ride runs from Cote Green carpark at Wortley heading North West to Dunford Bridge and then we return back down the same trail.  The Don valley Trail is part of the Trans Pennine Trail.

Steve

Riding from Rother Valley to Tapton Lock

 

Hello & Welcome RotherValley
to our blog page for our video “Rother Valley to Tapton Lock” which shows us riding the route from Rother Valley Country park near Rotherham to Tapton Lock in chesterfield, much of the ride follows the path of the Chesterfield Canal.

The ride starts at the The Old Mill and Stables Cafe in Rother Valley Country Park, it heads clockwise around the lakes and out on to National Route 67 which goes right past the park. This is part of the Transpennine Trail, the stretch between Chesterfield and Leeds forms the main route of the Transpennine Trail (central).

Parts of the route along follow a disused railway line until Stavely, at which point the route goes along the towpath of the Chesterfield Canal.

Each time we visit the Chesterfield Canal more of it has been improved and developed (in a good way) to heighten the experience of visitors.

More information can be found on the work done on the canal by chesterfield canal trust here.

Enjoy the Video
Steve