Cycling The Longdendale Trail

A chilly but bright Saturday, we decided to pack up our bikes, drive into the Derbyshire countryside and cycle along the Longdendale Trail, a 7 mile cycle track which was once an old railway line. A safe off-road cycle combined with lovely views sounded just the thing.

04.26.001 - Longdendale Trail

The trail is part of the Trans Pennine Trail and the route follows the course of the old railway line from Hadfield in Derbyshire to the Woodhead Tunnel. This was the first railway link between Manchester and Sheffield with the first passenger train in 1845. Hard to believe today that freight and passenger trains once thundered up and down this peaceful stretch of countryside. The line was closed in 1981 and subsequently turned into a cycle/walking trail.

04.26.002 - Longdendale Trail

04.26.012 - Longdendale Trail

We headed for Hadfield, easily found the trail which was very well signposted all the way through the little town and were lucky to get the very last parking spot in the teeny tiny car park.Β The cycle track is 6.5 miles in each direction. Amid groans from Son when he realised we would be cycling 13 miles, we set off and he soon forgot about the moaning when we spied meadows with cute baby lambs.

04.26.013 - Longdendale Trail

The scenery was instantly captivating – rolling green fields then a string of reservoirs at the bottom of the valley.

04.26.006 - Longdendale Trail

The 5 reservoirs were completed in 1877 and with the sun shining on them looked stunning. The only slight shame was those pylons that run parallel with the trail – a blot on the otherwise perfect landscape.

04.26.007 - Longdendale Trail

A refreshment stop halfway was of course essential, then we clambered back on our bikes and cycled to the Woodhead Tunnel. This is a series of railway tunnels, 3 miles long but now closed and the point at which we had to retrace our steps.

04.26.003 - Longdendale Trail

04.26.004 - Longdendale Trail

A short rest then it was back on the bike for the 6.5 mile return leg. The cycle to the tunnel – described as flat and it didn’t look like it ascended at allΒ – had left me feeling slightly out of puff the whole way, we needed to work fairly hard and Son moaned a lot. What we hadn’t realised was the railway path had a slight incline the whole way. A bit of a work out but wonderful for the way back – free wheeling and downhill all the way got a thumbs up from all of us.

04.26.010 - Longdendale Trail

04.26.011 - Longdendale Trail

37 thoughts on “Cycling The Longdendale Trail

  1. Lovely scenery and a good way of getting some exercise. My husband childhood home overlooked a reservoir and he and his brothers enjoyed many happy hours on their sailing dinghies there. It’s drizzling here, too this morning – let’s hope it clears up soon!

    • Sounds like the perfect place to grow up and learn to sail!! The grey skies are so disappointing today – and for the weekend!! After all that lovely sunshine I think it’s even harder to take!!

    • Won’t be long though – I remember when our son just got to grips with his bike and before we knew it he was whizzing ahead and we were able to do family bike rides in no time. This one was great – I love the old railway lines with no traffic and the fact they are reasonably flat!

    • It was a lovely day out Rosemary – despite our son’s initial groaning he soon forgot and had a lovely day too, so much to see you couldn’t help but be impressed. The weather was chilly but bright – that’s sometimes enough here!! Think we’re in for some rain and cooler temperatures – all that lovely sunshine seems to have disappeared. Have a lovely weekend.

      • Yes I remember those trips Joy with children when they groan at the prospect of a day out but often end up really enjoying themselves! I don’t mind chilly days as long as the sun is shining – it’s the cold and damp that gets me! Hope you have a lovely weekend and the sun reappears! πŸ™‚

    • It actually wasn’t too bad as far as exercise goes – although the way our son groaned you wouldn’t have thought so – but definitely the views were so stunning it would have taken your mind off anything!

    • We try and get our bikes out as much as possible Pam, as you say it makes for a fun day out and you get to see a whole lot more on a cycle ride. Hope your weekend is a lovely one too.

  2. So peaceful! My husband takes my girls for rides every soon as my leg is better I can’t wait as this is the first year my younger daughter can bike far. A great way to take in a lot of scenery!

    • We love cycling too although this year haven’t done quite as much because of the weather. It is a fun family day out though – sorry you’re missing out on the cycles but hope your leg is mending fast!!

  3. Wow..I love this, Joy. Gorgeous scenery, peaceful surroundings and a place where it seems you can just get lost in yourself. I’ll have to put this one on my list..:)

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