On our latest cycle tour , part of it took in the Transpennine trail from Stockport to York and it was like the curates egg, good in parts, terrible in others. We have cycled it twice previously from east to west, but this time it was to be east to east.
We cycled part way to Stockport on the Cheshire cycleway, but due to loosing the way we opted for taking a train from Knutsford . Outside Stockport station, there is no indication which way to go to join the trail. This seems to be a common challenge to cyclists using a train to get to the start of a tour. It would be a great help if there was signage to cycleways outside all station exits.
Even asking local residents didn’t help much as they are oblivious to these trails unless they actually use them. Fortunately, we found one chap who had seen the signs down in the town near the Tes*o supermarket and so after negotiating a large busy roundabout , we succeeded in accessing the TPT and it was nice at first with a reasonable surface. However, it was short lived with restrictors to squeeze through and very poor surfaces, and even horse steps on one descent through Reddish vale. After Denton, there was further surface deterioration and it became obvious that we would not make our proposed campsite. So asking about ,we heard there was a Premiere Inn at Hattersley, so that was where we headed for. Part of the track had been fenced off so it was a long climb up the road, fortunately, quiet in the early evening.
The receptionist was just lovely, getting us a ground floor room and letting us take the loaded cycles in. The food there wasn’t bad either.
Refreshed after after a good night’s sleep, we cycled in rush hour traffic down into Hattersley town, but were soon on quiet roads into Broadbottom and Gamesley on steep ups and downs. At Woolley bridge , there was really thick mud to have to plough through even though someone had put a couple of wooden boards down.
Nothing for it but to push along on foot , as it wasn’t rideable.
After Hatfield, the way became better, following the well surfaced Longdendale trail. The views of the reservoirs built to supply the mills that were in the area, were really good.
We carried on uphill and to Wood head tunnels and its here the really hard work begins. There’s a very poorly surfaced, steep path , up to the A628 which has become very much busier over the years. Waiting for a gap in the traffic, we ran across the road, to even worse uphill tracks worthy of any mountain.
It took both of us , to take each loaded bike up , individually as there were stone ledges across the gravel strewn path. I must admit , we burst out laughing but if I had been on my own , it would have been tears of frustration.
Windle edge is the highest point on the TPT and is reached after crossing the A628 after lifting the loaded bikes over another difficult restrictor. Why in such a remote place.
So it was with some relief , we freewheeled down to Dunford Bridge, a small village that has lost its facilities. However, the resurfaced path down to Penistone is a joy to ride. Penistone is well serviced with shops and Julies cafe served us mega portions of chocolate cake and hot chocolate . Very well worth supporting.
We carried on the well surfaced track into Oxspring, where we were then on a minor road to Silkstone Common , and into the muddy Dove Valley trail down to Do worth Bottom where we headed towards Wentworth Castle to go to Rockley Abbey farm campsite.
Next morning, rather than ride back up the hills, we used roads to get through to Hoyland and Elsecar, avoiding some difficult steps marked on the map. At the heritage centre, go through the factory carpark, everyone does and its obvious that the official track isn’t used. The Elsecar Greenaway isn’t too badly surfaced but as it was raining , it was a bit mucky.
At Broomhill, there is a choice as the various routes connect up, but it was clearly signed.