Shottle to Carsington Water
Matt Carroll, author of Escape Routes, picks his favourite rides…
ruising along the lane from Dannah Farm, with fields cascading down into the Ecclesbourne Valley on your left, you’ll be tempted to whip out the camera immediately. But don’t.
Instead, wait until you reach Alport Height just a mile or so later, where you can see for 60 miles on a clear day. The views keep on coming as you glide downhill, joining the cycle path that leads you towards Brassington, where your reward is a slice of ‘fidget pie’ – a lively combination of ham, cheese and potato – at Ye Olde Gate Inn.
From here you cycle on down to Carsington Water, surrounded by sheep-speckled hillsides, before climbing up onto the opposite side of the valley. Why not pause for a moment to take it all in; look closely and you’ll see the lanes you rode along on the way to lunch.
It’s a bit of a climb to get back to Dannah, but your reward is a lazy afternoon in the spa cabin…
20.5 miles approx.
Stop and see
At Carsington Water (01629 540478) you can sail, kayak, windsurf, climb…or simply sit back with a coffee and admire the green hills of the Peaks rising up on all sides. When was the last time you got to do that?
Eat, sleep and drink
At Dannah Farm (01773 550273), Joan, the owner, brings you tea and cake the moment you arrive – setting the tone for an indulgent weekend. There are 10 uniquely designed ‘suites’ to choose from – many with spa baths or hot tubs.
Rent a bicycle
Carsington Sports & Leisure Cycle Hire (01629 540478).
This route and over 50 others feature in a book entitled Matt Carroll’s Escape Routes , a hand-picked selection of stunning cycle rides around England. Published by Punk, priced £16.95.
Standing atop the majestic hills for spectacular views that stretch as far as the Welsh mountains.Exploring Herefordshire