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Cycling from Hartington to Matlock

A frenetic ride through the busy streets of Matlock before beginning a long climb through suburbia up out of the valley. Once at the top, a gentle ride down to the edge of Cromford and High Peak Junction. Here we pushed our bikes up the loose-surfaced incline that is the start of the High Peak Trail, up and up seemingly for ever. Ralph stopped to peer into the trap pit that caught runaway wagons near the base of the incline and still contained its last capture...unfortunately his camera wasn't up to taking a photograph. At last we reached the top, and more level cycling, though we faced two more inclines, the last actually cyclable (is there such a word?).

Once at the summit the trail wanders about, mostly missing centres of population. I seem to remember that the High Peak and Cromford Railway was originally planned as a canal, which explains its contour-hugging progress of straight lengths separated by tight curves. Today little remains of the area's industrial past — you only come across a couple of active quarries and a refractory brick works, and the landscape the trail crosses is almost entirely rural. Once you've climbed the inclines the trail is level and smooth-surfaced, a nice ride at any time of year, and almost deserted this autumn Wednesday morning. On reaching the junction with the Tissington Trail we headed southwards to Hartington again, and back to our car.



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