BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘Alton’

#365daysofbiking Windswept and happy

Saturday March 27th 2021 – The long rides of summer are underway now, fittingly on the last day before British Summer Time starts.

The day was characterised by a very strong southwesterly,

There was some sun from time to time as I and a friend headed up the A515 to Hoar Cross, Newborough and over Marchington Cliff to Woodroffes, the lonely church on the hill overlooking the Dove valley and Uttoxeter.

From there, down to Uttoxeter itself, along the cycleway to Doveridge and over Roston Common to Ellastone and that gorgeous bridge on the frontier.

From Ellastone, the weather turned grey and rain periodically joined the harsh wind. But it didn’t matter: Up over the Weaver Hills at dusk, down Star Bank into Oakamoor and along Red Road on the Churnet Valley floor by night, listening to owls and enjoying the oddly now warming up air.

Home was via Bramshall, Loxley and Rugeley. A terrific ride of more than 80 miles that was totally enjoyable. Great to be back.

Interesting too was the Peli case we found chained to the guard rail by the Trent between Kings Bromley and Yoxall: An Environment Agency water quality monitor, it had sensors in the water, presumably monitoring particulate and runoff pollution from the demolition site of Rugeley Power Station. Great to see.

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#365daysofbiking The long valley road

Sunday, October 11th 2020 – My wish was granted: It was a great day when the sun shone and the countryside steamed in the warm October sun. Sadly I didn’t get out until late afternoon, but still managed 70 miles.

I’d been wanting to do the Churnet Valley in autumn for years: The cycleway from Denstone on the old rail line, and Red road from Alton to Oakamoor were made for the season. I came back down the valley via Farley and Wootton Deer Park to Ellastone which was an absolutely magical golden hour ride on lanes I’d never ridden before: Thoroughly gorgeous and captivating. I must return.

The Churnet Valley – best known for the execrable Alton Towers theme park – is actually one of Staffordshire’s most wonderful places and is so much more than the gimcrack fairground attraction and is almost – with that imperious castle overlooking – a mini Loire Valley.

I came back via Ellastone, Marston and Sudbury, then blasted with the wind behind me down the A515. I just wish there had been more time.

What a difference a day made.

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#365daysofbiking Alton states

August 26th – I spent way more time in the CHurnet Valley than I meant to. A bit of stomach cramp invited a restful drink at the Talbot, and the fascination of Red Road and that castle in the glorious golden hour was too much to resist.

Alton could almost be French.

It’s so sad this place is mostly known for a theme park, there’s so much more to it than that. I shall return – I always meant to do this one in Autumn. It’s about time I did.

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#365daysofbiking Churnet up

June 29th – Since it was to be the hottest day of the year so far, I went for it again: Another ride out.

I rode up over Chorley to Armitage, and then up through Blithbury and Abbotts Bromley to Denstone, then up the Churnet Valley Trail to Alton, which always gives gorgeous views of the castle at Alton, evoking Bavaria or the Loire Valley.

From Alton to Oakamoor on the wonderful valley-floor lane called Red Road, then a quick break in the village and up Star Bank for a drink at the Old Star pub to cool down/ From there a loop round Windy Harbour and Caldon Lowe over the Weaver Hills, and back home through Ellastone, Marston Montgomey, Sudbury and Yoxall.

A fantastic ride on a perfect day.

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April 18th – The Churnet Valley is beautiful – no ifs and no buts – it’s like Staffordshire’s equivalent of the Loire Valley. Featuring a canal, a river, a preserved steam railway, a castle, several beautiful villages and steep, beautiful slopes, the reason it’s generally overlooked is because it contains Alton Towers, the theme park people seem to come to without visiting Dimminsdale or any of the other beautiful places here.

The old Flint Mill at Cheddleton is stunning.

The castle is now a school and religious retreat, an is extraordinary. 

The Churnet Valley does, however, eat cyclists. The 16% and 17% hills in and out of the valley between Oakamoor and Froghall nearly finished me.

But I have to come back.