Tuesday 7 May 2013

The Tissington Trail

The sun is out, spring is finally in the air and my wife is intent on cycling the Tissington Trail in Derbyshire.  We've decided to do part of it from Ashbourne up to Hartington Signal Box (Around 11.5 miles each way).  I also have my disabled son (Alex "Ballast" Newbould) keeping me honest.

The write up for the trail says it's a medium level of effort, and to be fair it's almost a complete uphill ride from Ashbourne to Hartington (and if you didn't have a 19 year old behind you I guess it would be no difficulty at all, but the loose shingle means working hard and pumping away at a relative high cadence to make progress with a trailer).  To be honest,  I have a few events planned for this year and a couple of quite high climbs so having a permanent level of resistance provides great training (or at least that's what I kept reminding myself).

Me with my Resistance Trainer in tow

Well to the trail itself.  Like many of the cycle route trails it is entirely off-road and on an old railway line.  Unlike the Monsal Trail, it's a much looser surface but other than that it's very similar.  There are picnic tables at various locations and a number of benches allowing you to admire the breathtaking views if you want to stop.

And that's really a key point, the views out over the hills as you climb are spectacular, made even better by that fact that it's lambing season and there are fields full of new lambs bounding around in the sunshine. One thing to note though is, if you go in the dry summer there is a lot of dust kicked up, the bikes needed complete clean down's once we got back but I tell you it is well worth it.

Leaving out of Ashbourne it's a gentle climb towards Tissington which is only around 4 miles up the track.  Most of this part of the ride is through tree clad areas with a couple of picnic sites complete with tables etc.

Once out of Tissington you continue the climb and soon are out looking over the excellent scenery.  I think my wife was extremely happy to be finally riding the Tissington Trail.

My wife Joanne on the trail
To be fair, without the trailer I would class this as a truly excellent and relatively easy ride with something to look at all of the time through the ride.

Excellent Scenery in all directions
 Eventually you come out over the tops of the hills and have a relatively flat ride to the signal box at Tissington.

 Here you will find a small ice cream store, toilets and more picnic benches allowing you to snack up ready for the descent back to Ashbourne.

Tissington Signal Box
Or, if your'e feeling more energetic it is possible to add up the trail for a further 3 miles or so where you can then head down an alternative fork for a further 12 miles allowing you to ride a full length of maybe 25 miles plus 25 miles return journey.

So, if you want an excellent ride in great countryside, I can thoroughly recommend the Tissington trail. If you're in training I can also hire out an excellent resistance trainer in the form of my son and his trailer as he too thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

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