Alsager is on the fringes of Stoke on Trent, and one thing Stoke has in abundance is disused railway lines. Some of these have become cycle tracks, and our Sunday morning ride today used two of them. From Kidsgrove Town Centre an inconspicuous track leads off the main road and becomes a quiet route towards Hanley, passing through Birchenwood Country Park. This bit includes a very dark tunnel where your eyes don’t have time to adjust, and you have to aim for the semi-circle of light at the end and hope you don’t hit a pothole.
At Chell a short road stretch over a hill leads to the Biddulph Valley Cycle Way on the old rail route from Hanley to Congleton. Not as well-known as it should be, this delightful track seems to be mainly used by dog-walkers and families with young children. My cycling friend Louise and I decided we must return in a few weeks time to see the autumn colours at their best.
This stretch is designated a nature reserve and is only a few hundred metres from the busy and parallel A527. Here the track is in a cutting: Further along it crosses the main road over a bridge so overgrown you don’t realise you’re on it!
This is the view from above:
And from the main road:
Soon after there is a lovely spot overlooking the Biddulph Brook, which may be the Cheshire Brook or even the Dane-in-Shaw Brook. It’s hard to tell from the Ordnance Survey map where the name of a stream changes!
Stopping here for a cup of tea (thanks, Louise) the October drizzle stopped and patches of blue sky appeared.
Now some people reading this (Ha! I’m an optimist) are going to be more interested in the bikes than the scenery. So for their benefit: Red one is Louise’s Halfords mountain bike, about 2006 vintage? Yellow bike is my 1981 Claude Butler Majestic, still going strong, what a bike!