Friday, 15 April 2016

The National Forest

Previously an area of heavy industrial activity with coal mines, slag heaps and potteries scarring the landscape, the coming of the National Forest to NW Leicestershire and SE Derbyshire has transformed the whole area to one that would be unrecognizable by earlier generations.
Along with the greening of the countryside and the planting of millions of trees, have come lots of off-road paths which are ideal for cycling and walking.
Here we look at a few of the options.

If taking your bike there by car, the best free car parking is at Conkers, which is not only well worth a visit in it's own right, but it lies adjacent to many of the best cycling routes.
The entrance to Conkers is on Rawdon Road Moira DE12 6GA.

                  This is the Visitor Centre.

The large free car park is busy at weekends and holidays, but you will usually find space as there is plenty of room. There is also a car park at Conkers Waterside approach by way of Bath Road.

                 Nearby is the Youth Hostel.

And here the caravan site run by the Camping and Caravanning Club.

The Ashby Canal is nearby and there is a well surfaced towpath suitable for cycling. The canal is not connected to the National Canal Network, so you will not see many boats on it.
See video of the ride HERE1

Route 63 of the National Cycle Network runs through the Conkers Car Park and will take you to Albert Lake and this is worth visiting. 
See video of the ride HERE2

The Conkers Circuit 
More off road paths on Route 63 of the National Cycle Network.
See video of this ride HERE3

Hicks Lodge .......

is a purpose built cycling centre between Moira and Ashby-de-la-Zouch on the site of an open cast coal mine. There is a nice cafe, toilets, and a bike shop with hire bikes. Surrounding the centre are miles of off-road cycle paths amongst the trees and lakes. Pay and display car parking here £3 all day, the cash going to maintain the cycle paths.
See videos of
The Lake Ride HERE4

The Cycle Trails are waymarked and some are a graded challenge for mountain bikers. See video HERE5

So lots of choice for off-road cycling here in the National Forest, only about 15 miles from Derby via Ashby-de-la-Zouch or via Repton,Ticknall, Hartshorne and Woodville. Make for Moira.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Catch the Early Train

Bikes and trains are the ideal combination if you happen to live within easy cycling distance of your local railway station and to get the best value for the train journey you may have to make an early start.

Click HERE for the video of my cycle ride from home at Mickleover  to Derby Station to catch the train for Sheffield which cost only £2.63 with a Railcard.

Derby Railway Station