Monday, 28 March 2011

Longdendale Trail

At the weekend we took 3 bikes, 3 doggies, 2 little'uns and a little'uns trailer to the Longdendale Trail, which is a 6.6 mile long former railway line between Hadfield station and the Woodhead tunnels forming part of National cycle route 62. Among a card full of photos I did a little bit of filming too, probably boring, but I guess someone out there might type 'Longdendale Trail' into youtube one day :-)

Jeans, trainers & jumper....perfect cycling 'gear' for a day out. I took the Hopper & my first (rather dodgy) attempts at wheelbuilding stood the test of high speed cobbles and gravely bits really wheel ;-)

The trail runs alongside the reservoirs of Longdendale valley and is pretty damn pleasent along the entire route, certainly if you compare it to the A628 Woodhead road on the opposite side of the reservoirs (well known for its frequent holes in the walls due to overly ambitious driving).

The whole trail is surfaced with compacted gravel, but there is one particular section which rises up a steepish hill that has got lots of very loose gravel, meaning its extremely difficult to get up even in a low gear.

All the gates on the route are much more cycle, buggy, wheelchair, cargo bike etc friendly than on other abandoned railway route. they all look like the one in the photo above with a large wide gate or a choice of u-bend path or just nip through the gap if you fit. The bridleway gate is elsewhere.

We saw lots more cyclists and walkers, even an electric disability buggy. Some people you see coming back in the other direction as we did, others have carried on up and over the Woodhead.

This is a long distance photo across the reservoir looking at the A628 Woodhead.

The route doesn't actually go anywhere unless you intend on carrying on up and over the pennines, but makes for a great day out whether you are braving Mottram moor (we didn't) to get there, getting the train to Hadfield or driving.

When you get to the end of the railway line you find the 3 Woodhead tunnels, all disused by railway traffic, but now owned  by the National Grid who run cables through the North tunnel, but are in the middle of laying new cables through the newer and larger Woodhead 3 tunnel. You can't get near enough to it at the moment, but before they started laying new cables you could stand right at the tunnel entrance. Standing here was a very odd experience as the temperature was massively reduced in the space of a few feet by the draft from 3 odd miles of deep underground tunnel air.

It's a steady incline from Hadfield up to the Woodhead tunnels and a decent 10mph or so wind was in our faces for most of the way (not so much fun with a trailer to pull), but that just means it was plain sailing on the way back down. It's an excellent day out, whether you are just out for a leisurely ride or after a bit of hard work and fancy riding the whole way there and beyond. 


  1. That's some beautiful scenery you got there!

  2. Its a beautiful valley. It was originally intended in the 70's to continue the M67 motorway (6 lane highway) up and along this railway line and through the Woodhead 3 tunnel. Thankfully that kind of highway building had started to go out of fashion by then and the ideas was dropped.

  3. I've cycled this a couple of times. The last in 2010 on my Pennine Cycleway trip. It was a very nice, picturesque break between hilly bits! A geat family day out.

    If you can get there then the Tissington Trail from Ashbourne is even nicer IMO. A bit more climbing along an old railway path, but nothing extreme, and then a fine easy ride back down. And with added ice cream stops at the old stations as well!

  4. Thanks for putting this on you tube, Have got my forty year old bike back in service and really fancy doing this route, so it was great to see what I can expect. Nice bit of filming, well done to you

  5. It is great to travel on weekend especially this kind of nice places to travel and enjoy over there.
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    1. Spam on an eight year old blog post. Good one there, Sam.