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Monday, 13 March 2017

Ranger's Meeting

Chris Selden has arranged a meeting of new and old Derby Rangers for 7pm on Monday 27th March at the Golden Eagle PH in Agard Street Derby. The room is upstairs and folding bikes can be taken in.
This is an important meeting to decide future policy and events for the Ranger Group, so please come along if you can.
Agard Street is just off St. Alkmund's Way and runs parallel to Friargate, so is pretty central.
Street car parking nearby and bikes can be parked at the pub.

The next informal meeting is at Don Amott's café is on Thursday April 6th at 12.30pm.

Friday, 10 March 2017

DON'T MISS TV Programme

Next week BBC TV are showing an hour long documentary on the history of the Raleigh Cycle Company.

Don't miss it.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Later that day................

After the Great Northern Run we had intended to do a Litter Pick at Mackworth, where there is usually a plentiful supply of the stuff.  It had actually stopped raining and we did not wish to disappoint Dan, whose idea it was, so we did actually pick up a whole black bin liner full and that warranted the alongside photograph.

Left to right - Chris, Les, Dan, Milepost.
Foreground - Bag of Litter.
Photo on Dan's phone by unknown young lady who happened to be passing.

This Sustrans Milepost at Mackworth has always been of interest as it was painted by Graffiti Vandals of whom we know nothing, and they made quite a passable job of it.
How things have changed from those far off days.
Sustrans now have an artist to do this job and she will be coming to our area in the foreseeable future.
Watch this space.

The Great Northern Run 2017

In spite of the grim weather forecast which turned to reality just before the races started, hundreds of keen runners set out to race along the Mickleover Greenway this morning. The consistent heavy rain flooded the path in places, but the faster runners paid no heed, and ran straight through the puddles. One of the slower runners at the rear said, as she struggled on, "I'm past caring now".

All photos shot from the relative comfort of my fishing umbrella fixed to the fence at Bannel's Gate.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Derby Arena

A free 5 day pass for the gym at the Derby Arena is on offer.

Check it out  HERE  if you are interested

Monday, 20 February 2017

Forthcoming Events

We are helping with the Great Northern Run on Sunday March 5th, by unlocking all the gates on the Mickleover Greenway and marshalling at Bannel's Gate and Bearwardcote Gate.  The racing starts at 9.30am and we expect the leading runners to be in sight by 9.45am.

In the afternoon we meet at Sainsbury's Café at Kingsway (1.30pm) for a litter pick on Route 54/68 between there and Mickleover. This is in conjunction with Derby City Council's Tidy-up Campaign and we hope to get some useful publicity for Sustrans on this occasion.

Also on Thursday 9th  March (12.30pm) we meet at Don Amott's Café in Hilton for the second of our Informal Lunches for just a chat and something to eat and drink.  All welcome.

21st February
Note above change  of date for Informal Lunch

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.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Great Northern Run

One of our great local athletics events comes to Mickleover  again this year on Sunday 5th March, that being the Great Northern Run organised by Huub Events. It consists of a Half Marathon and a 10km Race, both starting from Spinneybrook Way off Station Road in Mickleover, the route going out along Radbourne Lane to join the Greenway at Heage Lane and returning to finish at Mickleover Station.

As in previous years the Derby Rangers will be assisting with the marshalling and all Rangers are welcome to come along. We will be on duty from 9.30am at Bearwardcote and Bannel's Gates having earlier unlocked and opened all gates.

The photo above shows the huge pneumatic finish gantry at Mickleover Station.

This year it will be further back along the path as last year there was some congestion as runners arrived.

Here we are at Bearwardcote Gate last year. It was bitterly cold, so flasks of hot coffee were good, but a small bonfire would have been better, although the runners did not seem to feel the cold as we did.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Informal Lunch Date

We are proposing to have a monthly informal lunch at Don Amott's café for rangers, ex-rangers, friends and relatives. The first one will be on Wednesday February 1st at 12.30pm.
There will be no agenda, minutes or official business - just a bite to eat and a chat.
No bookings, just turn up.
See you there.

26th January 2017
Feb 1st is not a good date for many people but will stand and future informal meetings will avoid Wednesdays. Please comment on more suitable weekdays for you. Next informal meeting in the week commencing Monday 6th March.

1st February 2017
Proposed date for the March meeting is Tuesday 7th March.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Santa Comes to Mickleover

Well, what a Christmas it looks like being.
Tonight The Great Man Himself came past our house.

See the video on YouTube HERE

Actually it was Rotary Derby making their annual charity collection with Santa sitting in the illuminated trailer towed by a 4 x 4... I think that the reindeer were having a night off.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Moonrise over Mickleover

On a recent homeward bound train trip from Crewe, I got off the train at Tutbury/Hatton and cycled home in the rapidly gathering gloom. By the time I got to Egginton Junction Bridge it was almost dark and by Bannel's Gate there was a wondrous sight as the "super" moon rose above Mickleover.
 Here is the best photograph that I could get of it.

The moon seemed so large, and I thought to myself  "Just imagine how large it will be by the time I get to Station Road".
Then I thought "Hang on a minute - it's a quarter of a million miles away, and getting a mile closer isn't going to make much difference".
Needless to say - it didn't.

"Moonrise over Mickleover" - what a wonderful title for a song.

Friday, 16 December 2016

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree which stands on the Mickleover Greenway about half a mile from Mickleover Station, grows naturally on the path-side verge and has been dressed by the general public for several years. It is now about six feet tall and each year carries more decoration. Also this year we see for the first time another tiny tree has sprung up nearby and this has also been dressed.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Vegetation Control

The Mickleover Greenway is being transformed by Derbyshire County Council who have started a major cutback of the path-side vegetation using a tractor powered flail. Last week the section between the A516 underpass and Bearwardcote Gate was done and we expect to see more work done in the forthcoming weeks.
Also they are proposing to cut down some of the trees which are in a dangerous state and might be a hazard to users of the route.

                                              This is what it looks like at Hepnall's Bridge.

Saturday, 19 November 2016




Tomato & Basil soup with Roll (order 1a)
Beef & Vegetable soup with Roll (order 1b)

Turkey & Stuffing Roll (order 2a)
Beef & horseradish Roll (order 2b)
Jacket Potato with Cheese (order 2c)
Jacket potato with Tuna (order 2d)

Christmas Pudding with Cream (order 3a)
Christmas Pudding with Custard (order 3b)
Lemon Meringue Roulade with Cream (order 3c)

Coffee, Tea and Mince Pies as required (no need to order)

The cost is £10 per person.

Bring your own alcoholic drinks as required

Reply asap by email to Phil Harris (harris.etwall@gmail.com)

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Revised date for the White Peak Rangers' Xmas social

We have decided to change the date of our Christmas do These are the details now:

Catherine and David cordially invite you to the
White Peak Rangers Rendevous Saturday 10 December at 12:30 
The Barn, Old Vicarage, Warslow, SK17 0JJ
Home made pies, salads, and cakes plus a barrel of local brewery's Whim Hartington IPA 
£5.00/head to help cover costs
Bring a bottle/partner or both plus any info about cycling holidays to share
RSVP to catherine@rookespottery.co.uk
Directions from C&D: "In the village ignore satnav and go on the B5053 towards Onecote – our drive is where the 30mph limit ends"

See you all there!


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

White Peak Rangers' first Xmas social

Following you guys' excellent example of several years now, Catherine and David Rooke of the White Peak Rangers invite you all to our first Christmas do:

"White Peak Rangers Rendevous
Saturday December 17th. 12.30pm
At The Barn, Old Vicarage, Warslow, SK17 0JJ
home made pies, salads, and cakes 
plus a barrel of Whim IPA 
£5.00/head to help cover costs
Bring a bottle/partner or both plus any info about cycling holidays to share
RSVP to catherine@rookespottery.co.uk
In the village ignore satnav and go on the B5053 towards Onecote – our drive is where the 30mph limit ends"

Should be good! See you all there! (PS Obviously I nicked the picture from your blog!)

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Matlock in Bloom 27 Oct 2016

The next workday of the White Peak Sustrans Rangers - a workday with a difference - will be in Matlock on Thursday 27 October. We have been asked by Derbyshire County Council to plant bulbs alongside the tarmacked multi-user path, which was laid down early last year, next to the A6 Bakewell Road between the 'Sainsbury's' roundabout and Arc Leisure/Premier Inn. We can expect a fine floral display next spring! We will be helped by Matlock in Bloom supporters. Meet at 10:00 near the 'Sainsbury's' roundabout on the edge of town.  If you are coming by car, the best place to park would be on the A6, opposite where we will be working: there are several spaces behind a broken line parallel to the curb. Alternatively, Sainsbury's car park or even outside my house (phone me on 07855 804451 for details). This could also be an opportunity to see the latest developments on the Matlock to Rowsley multi-user path, part of the Pedal Peak Phase II project. Bring hi-viz jackets, gardening gloves, and maybe a hand trowel - or a spade if you are local (anything larger seems unreasonable if you are travelling far!) so I'll try to bring some extra tools along.

Catch 8.52 train from Derby - Les

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Mass Cycle Rides

I have bemoaned the fact that the highly successful Sky Rides are now at an end, but rumour has it that HSBC Bank are to take up this sort of ride in 2017 and that they (apparently) have much more financial muscle than Sky ever had.

Also they have premises in most cities, even though many of their minor branches have closed including my own local branch in Mickleover.

So.......... I may not be closing my account with them after all, although I doubt that they would have noticed the miniscule effect on their profit margin had I done so.

Watch out for further news and remember - you heard it here first!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

New Seat

 The new seat at Kingfisher Bridge, Etwall was unveiled today in bright sunshine after the morning's rain had passed  over. It was financed by Ann Meeds in memory of her late husband Bryan.
A small group of Ann's relatives and friends, together with Sustrans Rangers were in attendance and several bottles of wine were produced. Mavis Ratcliffe brought along one of her famous cream sponge cakes and this also rapidly disappeared.

                                                                   Unveiling of the seat

                                             Ann Meeds and family try out the seat.

                               He wasn't invited to the ceremony but he came along anyway.

                                                 Mavis offers Ann a piece of sponge cake.

                                                       The seat with no people on it.

                                                                  And the memorial plaque.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Rangers Ride on Tissington Trail

All Rangers and friends are invited to join us on a ride from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay and back on Wednesday 12th October starting from the cycle hire shed on the North side of the Ashbourne Tunnel.
Car parking available adjacent. Access via Mapleton Lane.
Start approx. 9.30am.
Lunch at Parsley Hay.
Distance about 27 miles.

The BAD News
Parsley Hay is 600ft higher than Ashbourne.

The GOOD news
It's downhill all the way back!
Although this route is very popular and very busy at weekends, tomorrow the public will (hopefully)be at work/school. Tee-hee!

14th October 2016
For a report on this ride see "Two Wheels and a Camera" blog  HERE