Sunday, 24 November 2013

Elvaston Castle from Derby

Derby's Riverside Path  was one of the first local off road multi-user paths and remains one of the most popular for both commuters and recreational cyclists, following the River Derwent eastwards towards it's confluence with the River Trent at Derwentmouth, on the county boundary near to the village of Shardlow.  It forms part of Route 6 of the National Cycle Network and has several important links with other paths, a few of which we will see on this ride.
The ride goes on a traffic free path to Elvaston Country Park and returns by the same route.

          We start at Exeter Bridge alongside the Market Place, where most of our local routes meet.
                                      Follow signs for Alvaston, Elvaston and Route 6.

                                      Watch out for birds which flock at the riverside for food..

                                         Straight on beneath the Inner Ring Road Bridge.

                Pass the Smithfield pub on the right and the bus garage on the left.

                                      We cross the River Derwent on the Telegraph Bridge.

                                                        Turning left on the other side

                                                                To another small bridge

This is Five Arches Bridge carrying the railway running North from Derby Station, crossing the Derwent which is to the left here.  In the floods of 2000 the water level was within a few feet of the underside of the arches and this poor cyclist would have been submerged.

                                   And here, from the archives, is the picture from November 2000.
 The river remains to our left for most of the way, and on the right is Pride Park, now a hive of modern industrial and business activity, the land having been reclaimed and transformed from large industrial plants which included a coal gas works and a railway locomotive works.

 Looking to the right we see the new Derby Velodrome, currently under construction, and due to open for business in October 2014.
 We arrive now at Alvaston Park, where the path on the right leads through to Swarkestone on the Trent and Mersey Canal.  Our route goes straight on following the riverbank.

The brightly coloured Sustrans milepost gives clear directions and distances.
 Further on is the Alvaston BMX track, a hugely successful project administered by Cycle Derby.
                                       Here some of the lads are having a wheelie competition.

                         Ahead is the Derby Ring Road (Raynesway) and the path takes us beneath it.

                             The tarmac ends here but the dust path has a good level surface.
                                                    A glimpse of the river between the trees.

 Although the path continues to follow the river, we leave it here at the weir, turning right towards Elvaston Castle.  When the water level is high and at the right time of the year, salmon can be seen leaping up this weir.

Take the right hand path here.

           A gentle climb to join the crossing path which joins Elvaston (left) to Alvaston (right).

                 Turn left after this gate.
                                                      And follow the track ahead.


Turn left as we reach the trees.

                                              And soon Elvaston Castle is in view.
          Time really stands still here at Elvaston, where the clock always reads two minutes past two.

We enter the courtyard where years ago the horse drawn carriages would have commenced and finished their journeys. Note that cycling is not permitted in the courtyard, but it's a pretty poor surface anyway.

Ahead is a café and to the right (before the arch), a shop and some toilets.
Go through the arch on the right to see the formal garden side of the house.

 This side looks over the formal garden. Note the right side of the building looks really old and contrasts with the left side, a more recent addition which is not all a good match.

Here is a video panorama of the formal garden.

                        This way to see the East elevation of the building (below).
This is the East elevation. looking out over the following view. 
Exit the courtyard through this arch on the left of the main building and make your way to the lakeside.

               Look back to see the East side of the Castle, which has only windows and no doors on this   elevation.

Here is the lake.

                                      With some interesting views through the stonework

                              Follow the lakeside path through the trees and cross this bridge.

                                            Look back to see the best view of the boathouse.

                                                    And go through to the car park here.

                                                        Public road ahead and toilets right.

         Turn left a the zebra crossing onto the path signed "This way to the National Cycle Network".

                      Follow the path through the trees through several gates, ignoring side paths.

   Turn right at this old building and you are now back on the outbound route and can follow that back on the Riverside Path to Derby.


Monday, 18 November 2013

The Five Parks Ride

This is a circular ride with something for everyone.  Only 6 miles long, starting from Derby City Centre, and having  history by the bucketful.  Nice riverside views, lots of pubs and cafes,  a selection of public toilets en route, and a rare bovine (rare in Derby at least!).  In fact something of interest at every turn.
Although the second half of the route passes through the city centre, it is mostly in bus lanes, and if you are not confident in traffic, best ride it on a Sunday, when there is very little traffic on the streets.
An excellent free map of this ride is available from Cycle Derby at the Council House, or from the Tourist Office in the Market Place.
Fasten your seatbelts, here we go.

We start with our backs to the Cathedral, at the statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie, with the Old Silk Mill, (now Industrial Museum) ahead of us, beside the River Derwent. 
 Follow the path towards the river, aiming for the right hand corner of the mill. On the left you will see the magnificent wrought iron gates made by Robert Bakewell and cross multi-coloured tiles which represent the efflux from the great water wheel which powered the machinery of the mill.
On the right you will see the pedestrian swing bridge built a few years ago, across which we will return on completion of the ride. 

We are to follow Route 54 of the National Cycle Network for the first part of the ride, and this takes us between the river bank and the Silk Mill.
 Look back to see a panoramic view of Cathedral Green and the magnificent 212ft high tower built between 1510 and 1530.   During WW2 a stray barrage balloon brought down one of the corner pinnacles from the top of the tower.

                                       At St.Mary's Bridge we pass through the left hand arch.
Along the Riverside Path............  Handysides Bridge, which used to carry the Great Northern Railway tracks across the Derwent.

Turn up the rising path on the left here, to cross the River Derwent ..........

............................................on the deck of the bridge.
We have two options of route on the other side of the bridge.  The riverside path is closer to the water, but is narrow and rather too popular with dog walkers, so we will go straight on through the car park ahead.

 Note the cycleway signs here are black instead of the usual blue.  This is because the nearby Chester Green is a conservation area where all signs and bollards are black.

 Straight across the car park then to turn left on City Road which leads us into Darley Fields.
 The railway ran on a high embankment here and a steel bridge crossed City Road.

This way then.
 Look back to see the empty shell of the mighty Prestige Works, which once turned out thousands of pressure cookers, saucepans and kettles.
 On the left as we cycle along City Road, is Parkers Piece, onetime sports venue for Derby School, then at St. Helens House in King Street.  Close by the cricket pavilion in 1928, the foundations of a Roman building were excavated. It had under-floor heating using stone passages.

Straight on at road junction to enter Darley Fields where there are public toilets (See below).

 Tennis courts on the right of the path  which runs parallel  between rows of mature trees, following the river to Darley Abbey village.  Ignore the No Entry signs..

To the left is another opportunity here to join the riverside route. 

A good tarmac surface through to Folly Bridge.

            which is here, a replacement for the one which was carried away by the floods of 2001

Along Folly Road now with Derby Rugby Club on the right, it's entrance being on Haslam's Lane which lies ahead.  There is a bar there and they serve good food at sensible prices. Also toilets here.
                                Turn left at tee junction with Haslam's Lane...............

...................heading towards Evan's Mill ahead.
Look in field on the right to see Oink, Derby's only water buffalo. 
This is Oink. He is 15 years old and said to be "a big softie".
Sadly Oink died on 12th December 2013.
And enter the mill complex heading for toll bridge, but not to worry, the toll applies only to cars.

 The once mighty cotton mill is home to a number of small businesses and there is talk of major re-furbishment with lottery grants, as the site is deemed to be of major historical importance.

                                                                  The Toll House.

And the toll bridge.

To the left looking downstream, is the weir.

As we turn left after the bridge, look to the right where this excellent multi-user path runs to the Midland Canoe Club's building and on towards the A38 crossing and Allestree.

Looking left across the river as we enter Darley Abbey village is a good view of Evan's Mill.

Straight ahead on Old Road, noting lots of lovely old houses which would have been occupied by the
                                                                 workers at the mill.

                                      Here the Abbey, actually a pub but was once the Abbey of Darley

                                                                   View from other side.

                    A strange cast iron notice on one of the cottage walls.  You have been warned!
The route would normally go uphill on New Road and through Abbey Yard into Darley Park, but that route is out of action currently (November 2013), due to building work, so we have to take a diversion past the cricket field and the outdoor centre.
Update 12th August 2014
The diversion is still necessary as the building work is not yet complete.
However, we are assured that it will be finished "within a few weeks".

                                            So this is the way. Cross the car park ahead.

We now enter Darley Park, following the path to the right, passing the Outdoor Centre (right) which has a Dutch barn  style curved  roof.

Keep right, climbing uphill towards the café

                                   There is an excellent café here in Darley Park, with lots of outdoor seating.
                                                            More toilets behind café.

                                           Opposite the route goes uphill to exit from the park

                             Looking downhill to our left we can see the River Derwent across the park.

                                      Exit the park at these gates onto Darley Grove.................................

...........which leads up to Duffield Road and the roundabout at the Broadway Hotel (below).

                                                         Cross Duffield Road here..........................

                                                                      Onto Broadway

                                 Left onto this service road as we approach Kedleston Road.

                                                      Use this crossing for safety.

                                    Turning right on this cycle lane towards the A38 bridge,

 Keep on the cycle path alongside the A38, actually out of shot left in this picture, which shows the Curly Bridge ahead, and past that the dreaded Markeaton roundabout.
Turn left before the Curly Bridge ramp here.

                                         Pass the University buildings on Markeaton Street.

                               Then pass  Brittania Mill (University Arts department).

                                                    Left at cross roads onto Mackworth Road

                   Right onto path in Markeaton recreation ground, following line of trees below.

                                                         Straight on between houses
                                           Straight onto road at end of path

                                                         Straight on at cross roads
              Cross Ford Street (Inner Ring Road) here at Joseph Wright Centre to Willow Row.

                                                 Willow Row has an excellent cycle path

                                                              Onto road at Bold Lane.

                     Bold Lane. The large building on the left was a theatre where Charles Dickens once         gave a lecture

                                  Bold Lane to The Strand.  Cheapside right. Sadlergate left.

 Enter Victoria Street using bus lane. St. Jame's street on left

Through Victoria Street.

                                          Albert Street with Northcliffe House ahead.

Turn right after Ossnabrook Square at Council House roundabout into the Morledge.

Then take cycle path between the Courthouse and Jimmy's restaurant towards river bank.
Turn right on reaching the river bank to pass the new hydro-electric plant which supplies electricity to heat and light the Council House.

Left fork after passing beneath bridge.

 Turn left at blue sign to cross the river again on the Telegraph Bridge.
Ignore the "Cyclists Dismount" signs. They have no significance or legal standing.

Left at road.

On shared path (left) to pass under bridge.
Look to your left to see the weir, hydro power station and Riverlights complex.

Cross Derwent Street at Exeter Bridge, right on far side then turn left into Stuart Street.
        This view is soon to be improved with the demolition of the ugly and derelict Police Station.
Left at blue sign to re-cross river on the Swing Bridge.

Cross the swing bridge to re-join Bonnie Prince Charlie on Cathedral Green. 
Hope you enjoyed the ride, be it on your bike, or in the comfort of your armchair.