BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Churnet Valley’

#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 In denial

Saturday, October 17th 2020 – A great ride really that didn’t turn out as planned. I was heading for the Churnet Valley again, and rather than take the boring road up over Willslock and through Uttoxeter to Denstone, I decided to wind may way through villages to the west of there.

I was beset by mechanical problems in the first 20 miles. And it rained that horrid, fine rain that slowly but surely dissolves your determination, by getting into your clothes and just by being no fun at all. But against my better judgment, I pressed on.

And as I neared Alton, the sun started shining weakly, and the rain abated. I found beautiful views and a lovely ford near Hollington, and in the dying hours of daylight the Churnet Valley was as gorgeous as I’d hoped.

I had planned to do a loop up Ousal Dale and Dimmings Dale but it was such tough going up Ousal Dale that I decided to leave the valley via Oldfurnace and Greendale, which were gorgeous in their sunset, with the smoke-wreathed cottaged particularly enchanting.

I headed home to complete the 70 miler though a gorgeous sunset at Crakemarsh and up Buttermilk Hill in the dark, Marchington Woodlands and Hoar Cross, accompanied by a soundtrack of owls.

The windmill at Longdon and Black Swan at Smeltingmill were lovely treats, too.

A ride that started badly but finished rather well.

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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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