On Yer Bike!

Cycling fever gripped Rolleston in 2007 with at least two different households within the village completing the journey between Lands End and John O’Groats. Roger and Maggie Gawthorpe did the entire journey in several different legs over a number of months, while Rodney Paul from Rolleston and Mark Jordan from Stretton set out on the ride on the 17th May 2007 - planning on getting to John O’Groats about 15 days later. The entire journey is approximately 1000 miles, depending on the route taken. Rodney was raising money for computer equipment for the refurbished Old School Room, whilst Mark was raising it for the Burton branch of the Alzheimer charity.

Cycling In And Around Rolleston On Dove (For The Less Ambitious)

Leisure or touring cyclists tend to fall within two broad groups. Those who prefer to use the existing road system and those who feel threatened by motorised traffic and prefer off-the-road routes. Two routes with off- road sections created by the charity Sustrans (Sustainable Transport), NCN54 and NCN68 pass close to our village. 

Route 54 goes from Derby to Oxford, passes through Stretton on to the old “Jinny” line off Princess Way, crosses Shobnall leisure complex and Lawns Farm bridleway just beyond Marston’s Brewery, to join the road into Tatenhill. The section from Derby uses part of the redundant Northern Line from Mickleover to Egginton Junction. This has a reclaimed materials surface 3 metres wide and is level throughout its length of about six miles. At the moment the section from Egginton junction to Stretton is on road through Egginton village and the recently resurfaced cycle track along the A38. East Staffordshire Council stated in 2002 that the off-road section from Clay Mills to Princess Way would be completed “in the next few months”, this is still awaited. Sustrans is negotiating with Network Rail to acquire land alongside the existing Derby to Stoke line and then to cross the river Dove on a new bridge and into Rolleston. It was hoped to use an upgraded “Jinny Trail” to compete the route into Stretton and so onward south.

The desire for the last section has resulted in some controversy and the claim for bridleway status has complicated matters somewhat. The public enquiry of April 11th may help resolve matters. 

Almost all of the off-road sections of Sustrans routes are known as multi-user, that is they are open to people on foot, by cycle and on horseback, but definitely not motorised vehicles either on two or four wheels. In the author’s experience there is little conflict between the various users of the routes provided all exercise a little consideration.

Another route just a little farther away is NCN6 that starts at Penrith in the north and goes to Slough in the south. A section goes from Derby to Leicester and it is possible to travel from Derby to Loughborough with a large proportion entirely off-road and the rest along quiet country lanes.

When Route 54 is completed it would be possible to travel from Burton into Derby again with most of the route being away from traffic.

The routes are usually well signed and the National Cycle Network features the county’s biggest collection of outdoor public art spread across thousands of miles of trail that provide topics of conversation between travellers. They vary from large earthworks and “growing sculptures” to small details like fountains, seats and gateways.

Some routes are along upgraded canal towpaths so a variety of scenery and habitat is encountered.

Beware of offshoots; there are sections of route 54 for example that seem to bear no relation to the general direction of the main route. This may be a ruse to obtain funding for maintenance purposes.

Travel out to the section through Etwall or Swarkestone and see what they are like, you never know you may be favourably impressed.

Terry Williams
(This article was taken from Rollestonian - Summer 2007 issue)

Cycle Rides From Rolleston - Trusley And Osleston

It is useful to have an objective on any ride to give it focus and a sense of exploration. This ride is around 15 miles in length, along mostly level quiet country lanes with just a few gentle rises. 

Trusley’s charming brick church, little more than 250 years old, has a three-decker pulpit and something found in few other places. It is a Maiden’s Garland, made from paper and consisting of garlands of white flowers and gloves. It was carried in the funeral procession of a betrothed maiden. The stained glass windows although not particularly old all contain a cartoon or joke. No, not the comic books type, but a deliberate mistake in the design by the artist or glazier. We found them difficult to spot without help. Hatchments of the Coke family decorate the walls; these were also carried in funeral procession and are decorated with their coats of arms.

The route starts north from the St Mary’s Church turning into Marston lane to the Derby road, right and then left into Hilton village. Left into Dale End Road followed by left onto Sutton Lane, over the A50 and continue to Sutton on the Hill, look out for the Weaver Hills on the north-west horizon, a lovely view on a clear day. Turn right just beyond the red telephone box – signed Trusley and Etwall – to the top of the rise. A rather attractive house with tall Gothic windows, castellated façade and towers appears on the left. The field opposite is a riot of daffodils during spring. Well worth the pause for a look, a public footpath followed for short distance gives a more elevated view.

Go left on James Lane, the bend here is known as Devil’s Elbow and Sutton church is the prominent feature on the hill to the left. In 1.5 miles turn left on a sharp right hand bend into Trusley village.

Unfortunately the church is usually locked; the Rector is Michael Bishop who resides in Church Broughton so a phone call may be useful before setting out.

The narrow road continues, at the next junction turn right, signed Osleston. In 100 metres turn left onto Tythebarn Lane, signed Thurvaston to the cross road at Windlehill Farm and pond. This is a twisty, narrow lane with gravel on the surface in places so care is needed. Turn left into Back Lane and a gentle downhill run leads to Sutton Methodist Church. A right and left turn followed by another right leads back into Sutton village. The outward route can now be followed to Hilton and Marston crossing the river Dove into Rolleston.

Terry Williams
(This article was taken from Rollestonian - Winter 2007 issue)

Osmaston Park

This ride uses mostly traffic free lanes, involves around 2½ miles of off-road bridleway and is approximately 25 miles in total. There are public houses along the route in Shirley and Osmaston. The road is undulating and quite narrow in parts and there is one steep downhill section.

Starting from our church proceed down Marston Lane to the A516, turn right and then left into Hilton. Take the first left into Dale End Road and left again to cross the A50 and into Sutton on the Hill. Fork left just below the church and left again to follow Longford Lane to Longford village and a T-junction with Longlane Roman Road.

Pause awhile in Longford where the road crosses a millstream. The restored mill and millpond are a pleasing sight at this time of the year. The building opposite was once a cheese factory but like the mill has been converted into a dwelling. A replicate sign on the wall gives its history.

At the T-junction, opposite Longford Hall, turn right and then left to climb into the village of Hollington. A left turn here drops down a narrow road where care is needed before the gentle climb into the village of Shirley – the pub here is the Saracen’s Head. Just beyond the church take the left fork along the single-track road. As it enters the wooded area the surface deteriorates and in places is loose gravel but mostly rideable with care.

Here we are in Shirley and then Osmaston Parks. Spring and autumn are the best times for tree colour but the park is a delight at any time of the year. From the giant Redwoods at the top of the rise the track drops steeply on a loose surface to the estates Victorian sawmill and lakes. Pause awhile to take in the lovely view over the lake and the water driven mill. Continue on the same route up to the duckpond and horseshoe seat ringed by thatched cottages in Osmaston village. The pub, if needed, is a little further to the right.

Our route now goes between the imposing gateposts and down the old hall drive before a right turn through more trees to some cottages. Osmaston Hall like Rolleston Hall is no more but the walled kitchen garden, just off to the left, is still there if rather derelict. Built into the wall is a strange Italian-type tower. This is a communal chimney that had served the whole manor with its 70 rooms, bake-house, wash and brew-house and a central tunnel carried smoke to the chimney. The short distance to view it is marked ‘Private’ but the author has never encountered a problem.

The route once more loses its metalled surface as it crosses open land before dropping to a stream and small copse. Around the exit gate can be boggy in wet weather. Continue westward to a lane by a group of houses at Wyaston Grove. There is a choice of return route here but the most scenic is to turn left at the end of this short lane and left at the T-junction to join Sustrans NCN 68. This follows an undulation route through the small village of Rodsley and joins Longlane Roman road once more by Woodhouse farm. Turn left and second right. This road can be followed to the crossroad at Mount Pleasant where a left turn takes us into Sutton once more. The outward route can then be followed back into Rolleston.

Ordnance Survey sheet 128 Derby and Burton on Trent is the relevant map.

Terry Williams
(This article was taken from Rollestonian - Summer 2009 issue)

Pedal Power (a recommendation!)

I have always enjoyed cycling, especially on a long, downhill slope. But with increasing years I have found the corresponding uphill slope more of a challenge, and cycling was beginning to lose its appeal.

However, modern technology has come to the rescue in the form of the electric bike. This is a bicycle with a battery and electric motor built in. It looks very much like an ordinary bike and pedals like an ordinary bike until you switch on the power, and then life becomes very much easier. My own bike has two options in “power mode”. The first is on “pedal assist” where the electric motor only cuts in when you are actually pedalling. This makes the bike feel as though you are going downhill, even when you are not, and makes going uphill so much easier! The second option is to use the power only, and control speed with the throttle on the handlebars. In this mode it is not necessary to pedal at all, although the motor may require some pedalling assistance on a steep uphill slope.

The bikes vary in size, range and price. Range can be 15 – 30 miles depending on whether you use “pedal assist” or “power only”, and obviously what size of bike you have and how heavy you are. They are perfectly rideable as an ordinary bike if the battery has run out – but it’s a lot more fun if you have an electric motor assisting!

I had originally intended to use the bike in the summer as a greener option to a car and store it away during the winter. The mild autumn kept the bike in use and then I discovered that for local trips on a frosty morning it is quicker to use the bike than go to all the trouble of scraping the ice off the car. So the bike has been kept charged up and trips to the petrol station much less frequent. With all the fresh air and light exercise I am probably fitter as well.

Lyn Anderson
(This article was taken from Rollestonian - Spring 2010 issue)

Return to Home Page

© This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 29 March 2010