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Wednesday, 15 February 2017


A warm welcome to the new volunteers who are joining the Derby Ranger Group, and in particular to Christine Selden who is taking  over as our new Group Co-ordinator. A future meeting will be an opportunity for all to meet up to decide on future policy, duties and events.

This blog had been our main means of communication for a number of years and has therefore become a historical record of the Group, events, and our local NCN Routes.

For the benefit of our new volunteers I am proposing to post information about the routes, this being the first, dealing with the Mickleover Greenway which runs 5.25 miles from Station Road in Mickleover to Egginton Junction Bridge on the A5132 Hilton to Willington road.

This off road path is designated as NCN 54 leading to Burton, and NCN 68 leading to Ashbourne and eventually to Berwick-on-Tweed, a distance of 350 miles. Fortunately (!) none of our routes go past the Derbyshire County Boundaries.

Route 549 is mainly on country lanes and runs along the Dove Valley through Hatton, Scropton, Sudbury and Doveridge, to Uttoxeter.

The Mickleover Greenway is part of the Great Northern Greenway, the other part being the Breadsall Greenway, of which more later. Originally the Great Northern Railway, it is flat, passing through pleasant farmland and has some unique features - more public seats than any other NCN route, a flagpole, and is accurately marked at each mile point. We have a colony of glow worms and lots of badger setts.  We have a box car trailer (used for tool storage) this being parked at Mickleover Station which is the home of Stefan Czuplak who is one of our Rangers and main contact with Derbyshire County Council who are landowners of the path.

The path was opened in 2001,  originally just as far as Etwall, with two later extensions which took it to Egginton.

This is our trailer, parked inside the locked gate at Mickleover Station.

The contents may look like a load of junk, but are in fact the following;
bike trailer, two strimmers, a gazebo, telescopic ladder, signs, paint, and a variety of hand tools.

At Mickleover Station is one of the cast iron mile posts, one of 1000 sited across the National Cycle Network. We have several others on our other routes.
They were donated by the bank RBS which subsequently went bankrupt but not for this reason.
We have painted them but many of them are in need of repainting, perhaps with a change of colour.
Any volunteers for this task?

Also we have a flagpole, originally the property of British Rail when the area was a development site.
Time for a new flag, I think.

Here a view of the path just West of Mickleover Station, showing one of the 12 seats which we have sited along the route.  Several have been refurbished recently.

Plenty of trees line the route  Shown here, our Christmas Tree, which is decorated by the public every year, and in the background a 300 year old oak, one of several veteran trees hereabouts.

Opposite another of our seats, a great place for birdwatching with bird feeders across the path.

This is the "Curved Seat".

This is the first mile marker. one of four heavy coping stones. Miles accurately measured from the Mickleover Station Gate. There is not one at 5 miles as the gate there is exactly 5 miles along the path, and we only had 4 stones.

There are three sets of double gates along the path, sited where there were originally farm crossings.
The large gates are kept locked and we have keys. The pedestrian gates alongside are kept closed, being secured by looped chains.

This Winter DCC have felled quite a few of our tress and flailed the pathside undergrowth.

This is the point, near Etwall, where Route 54 and Route 68 diverge. R54 goes left, beneath the  A516 road, and Route 68 goes straight on to Ashbourne and the Tissington Trail.

Sutton Lane Bridge which carries Route 54 into Etwall village. From this point the Route is numbered 549 and leads on through Hilton, to Uttoxeter and Waterhouses,

Finally we come to Egginton Junction Bridge which carries the A5132 Hilton to Willington road.
This area is prone to flooding.
Above the bridge, left for Burton via Eggington (on road) and right for Hilton and Uttoxeter.

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