We've lived in our current house for nearly thirteen years yet there are still things just a couple of kilometres away that we've never investigated.
I'd been looking on a map at the route of a recently opened section of the Pennine Bridleway which goes quite close to us when I saw a couple of bridleways that I hadn't noticed before. It looked like they'd make a short loop, both started from the same point on one road but I've been past that point many times both in a car and on a bike and never realised there were bridleways there. So, last night, having biked back from work and with lovely skies I reckoned we should have an investigation.
There was a bit of road to get there from the house but soon we were turning down what to all intents and purposes looked like a track to a farm, no signs or any indication that there was a right of way. We decided to do the loop clockwise so headed left through a field. The track was a typical farm track of two ruts so you had to choose one or the other. Both had lots of nettles and thistles!
Eventually we got to a gate and the fun began. A really fast, well surfaced track and singletrack followed the wall downhill. It did however feel quite rough but I put that down to the speed we were going. Another gate and now the track is walled on both sides and it soon joins a larger track. Turn right and down to another gate. At this point I notice that my front fork is locked out - I'd forgotten to reset it after the road section so no wonder the track had felt rough!
Rough then smooth tarmac led down in to the neighbouring village and it was then a matter of finding the track back uphill. It turned out to be a long steady climb, it wouldn't make a good descent so we'd chosen the right direction. The bridleway leading back to our starting point didn't look that good (will have to investigate later) so we carried on the one we were currently on. This led to a house, just before this there was a gate leading on to the moor and a continuation track.
With all the dry weather this track was really pleasant and soon we had rejoined the road at the top of the hill. We could hear other cyclists and as we crested a brow we could see them heading off on what is technically a footpath, though I have seen tyre tracks on there before. We decided to follow as it would avoid a long road detour.
The group had stopped at the summit, they were effectively doing the same loop as we were but had started from the neighbouring village. Cath happened to know one of them. After a few minutes chat and spotting deer (as you do) it was time for the descent. I've run up this way and it can be boggy but now it was dry and firm and we could zoom along. All too soon we were back at the road. Ahead was a footpath that has been upgraded to bridleway so along that and up one final hill then it was back down the road to home.
So quite a good little loop to find on our doorstep. I think it will stand up to wet weather use, maybe not the boggy section on the way back up, and it is not overly technical so will do for night rides in winter. Result!