Tarquin's cycling pages

16 August 2009 - Manifold Way

WhereManifold Way
(The Peak District)
Date16 August 2009
Duration3 hours 40 minutes
Distance16 miles (~26 km)
WeatherOvercast with some sunshine near the end
Trail conditionsDry tarmac
Anonymous Unknown Giant Boulder 6000
Eleanor Wilton-Jones 15 Stealth Classic
Josie Wilton-Jones 7 Concept No Limit
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 29 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)
Megan Caplin 2 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR XC Comp
Nerys Wilton-Jones 28 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR XC Comp
Peter Wilton-Jones 30 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

This route description is designed to be printed. Choose the 'Print route' style from the style dropdown on the right (needs a good browser; Opera, Firefox, Safari/Chrome, Konqueror, iCab, Internet Explorer 7), then use your browser's normal print function.

You may note that the pictures are now taken with the new camera, which is held in place with the harness and holster, allowing easy access for pictures while still moving. The external lens case gets in the way of the knees too much, and is redundant anyway, since changing lenses makes no sense when cycling.

See pictureSee pictureStarting at the Hulme End visitor centre, the route follows the old railway line, as it enters the top of the Manifold Gorge beside Ecton Hill. There is no chance of losing the way here, since it's the only real route.

See pictureSee pictureAfter some distance, it crosses then joins a road, and enters a long tunnel. This is one of the highlights of the route, but be warned that it is a road that is used by cars and motorbike convoys.

See pictureSee pictureThe road continues for some distance, eventually entering a gorge at Wettonmill. A huge white arched cave entrance can be seen back on the left, and in summer, the river disappears into its bed as it starts down the gorge.

See pictureSee pictureAt last the route leaves the road, and regains its own tarmac, with a few limestone crags towering over it.

See pictureSee pictureA large crag on the left has an obvious large entrance to Thor's Cave, and just after this, the route picks up a short road through a car park. This area is usually full of other cyclists and visitors, even more than the rest of the trail, which is already overcrowded. This marks the halfway point.

See pictureSee pictureOn the other side of a road, there are two tarmacked roads beside each other. The one on the right is the cycle route. Around the corner, a large cliff on the left is Beeston Tor, which marks the mouth of the Hamps valley, which the Manifold Way now follows upstream to the right. The Manifold valley also continues downstream ahead, but it's quite easy to miss that from the bike trail, and it's not important right now, since it has no cycle route.

See pictureSee pictureThe route is now very straightforward, becoming a more overgrown valley, which also runs dry in summer. Eventually, it passes through farmland, and reaches the road (the river sinks in the valley floor here).

See pictureSee pictureTurn right to reach the village of Waterhouses, where there's a good pub for refreshments. Our stops here and at Thor's cave gave a total end-to-end time of 4 hours and 50 minutes.

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