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Monday, 2 September 2013

A Local Ride

My recent rides have been away from Derby, taking my bike by train or by car to cycle on pastures new, but there are a few more local discoveries yet to be made.
A little known but relatively local greenway has been on my To Ride List for quite a long time and this recent spell of real Summer weather was the catalyst for me to take a look at it.
Running Northwards from the old Nottingham Road (now the B5010) just to the East of Borrowash is what Derbyshire County Council describe as "The  Hopewell to Dale Abbey Greenway".  It is not part of the National Cycle Network, and you could say that it goes from nowhere to nowhere.
It is about two miles long, the focal point being what used to be Hopewell School, a reform institution where naughty boys were taught how to behave (in the good old days).
A lady that I met on the path told me that when the school closed it was bought by the guy who owns Coldseal Windows, who did not like the footpath which went in front of what became his (rather large) house, and he persuaded DCC to re-route it (as a bridleway) around the back of the house, where it overlooks the village of Ockbrook and goes on to the pretty village of Dale Abbey, passing along quiet lanes which sound like something out of Wind in the Willows  .....................  Potato Pit Lane and Woodpecker Hill.

This 40ft high chancel window stands alone in a field and is all that remains of Dale Abbey, although most of the cottages and gardens in the village have some stone which appears to have been salvaged from the ruins.

The abbey was founded in the year 1200 and construction completed in 1250.
After the dissolution of the Monastries in 1539, the abbey came into the possession of Sir Francis Pole of Radbourne and was stripped of it's contents, which found their way into other local churches at Morley, Chaddesden, Ockbrook and of course Radbourne.

Sadly my arrival at the picturesque village pub was ill-timed, as they were not yet open (:- (

Just a short distance from Dale Abbey, and standing high on a hill from which the views are spectacular, is  the Cat and Fiddle Windmill, owned by Derbyshire County Council, and restored some years ago to full working condition.

The mill has a chequered history, having been struck by lightning in the years before the invention of lightning conductors, and having been wrecked in gale force winds.

So, a reminder that there are many places within easy cycling distance of Derby, which are well worth a visit.

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