Saturday, 15 April 2017

New Country Park in Swadlincote gets Planning Permission

On Tuesday 11th April the Planning Committee at South Derbyshire District Council passed 2 applications relating to the site in the Cadley Hill area of Swadlincote.  A new country park is planned as well as pub/restaurant, another restaurant, a golf related retail unit and car parking & access.  It also features cycle and walking paths, hence it's appearance on the blog.

The site has been under development for several years with a municipal golf course being planned for many years.  The golf course will still go ahead but in a reduced size from original plans with an 18 hole course now replaced with 2 smaller 9 hole golf courses with the country park in between.

The illustration shows the cycle paths in purple through the site.
The above illustration is taken from one of the documents held within the planning application information on the SDDC website.  For further information click here to link to the planning application documents.  On this drawing the roundabout in the bottom right hand corner is the roundabout at the Bison concrete factory at the end of William Nadin Way and appears to indicate that there will be a path on the northern side of William Nadin Way which will link to one of the new housing developments near Park Road in Newhall.

This will then form an important part of the link between Swadlincote and Burton.  Further parts of this link are steadily growing.  The below pictures show some of the link from Darklands Lane through to the new Development off William Nadin Way (Cobblestone Drive).  They currently finish at the perimeter of the development about half way down William Nadin Way.
New section of path at the end of Darklands Way looking towards William Nadin Way
Looking back towards Darklands Lane

Whilst the path is not fully linked up and care will be needed crossing Cobblestone Drive it is a positive step in route development.  Meanwhile, there are developments further up the route as along Civic Way in Swadlincote due to redevelopment of the Fire Station.  Read more about the new Community Fire Station development.

Currently the link from Swadlincote town centre in direction of Darklands Road is provisionally signed down the footpath on the north side of Civic Way past the Health Centre then turning through a link next to the Police Station and onto Toumlin Drive.  The path along Civic Way is not wide enough to be a proper shared path and with several junctions it is not ideal in the long term and hopefully increased numbers of cyclists.

The Fire Station development looks to address this with a link along the side of the site and a further link through past the back of the site to Toumlin Drive which will be more freeflowing and possibly make a good link to nearby Eureka Park.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Work done in the Winter and Early Spring

Fortunately the recent Winter was relatively kind to us in South Derbyshire and surrounding area.  Our regular route checks did not find any significant issues although some of the surfaces are worn and muddy in some of the more rural areas, particularly towards Measham.

We have noticed that some work has been done around the cycle paths by Forestry Commission volunteer groups near Castle Gresley and also by Leicestershire County Council between Donisthorpe and Measham.  Much of the trackside foliage has been cut back which hopfully means that the cycle of dropped foliage mulching into the surface an becoming muddy will cease.  The extra light may also help to dry sections out more.

There are also some other sections of path that are starting to show signs of being covered which we may look to improve on a work day such as the section between Swainspark Wood and Spring Cottage.  The tarmacked surface needs brushing back before the foliage is embedded over time.

Aside from the path we have also been looking at signing and have concentrated on the area between Church Gresley, Albert Village Lake and Spring Cottage.  We have put some more destination patches onto new signs.  Regular cyclists in the area will be familiar with the routes but new cyclists and tourists will hopefully find the signing useful.

The next stage of the signing review will concentrate between Conkers Discovery and Moira.  Some of this will be to replace some of the current ageing signs but we are also looking at options for signing the future link to Hicks Lodge Cycling Centre.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Derby Cycling Group produce Tube style cycling map

The Derby Cycling Group has recently produced a novel new map in a similar style to the London Underground tube map to show cycling links around Derby.

The map has different colours to define the perceived quality of the links as shown in the picture below.

For a more detailed look at the map and further links to the Derby Cycling Group, click on this link.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

New Cycling Hub planned at Calke Abbey

One of South Derbyshire's most popular tourist attractions is Calke Abbey.  Set in an estate of woodland and parkland around Ticknall, the estate, house and gardens are on of the biggest local attractions managed by the National Trust.  To find out more about Calke Abbey visit the Calke Abbey page on the National Trust website.

The National Trust, along with English Heritage, are supportive of Sustrans and the National Cycle Network.  On both of their websites, directions to the attractions feature a link to the local cycle network via the Sustrans website.

Further to this, the National Trust are looking to expand the existing tramway paths through the Calke estate to create an outdoor hub to attract families wanting to enjoy outdoor activities.  The National Trust are great advocates of ensuring children enjoy active lives - most notably via the book "50 things to try before you are 11 and 3/4 - An outdoors adventure handbook", one of which is to go on a long bike ride.

The former tramway was used to transport goods from the quarries at Ticknall through to the canal basin at Willesley on the Ashby Canal, not far from the current route of NCN63 near Donisthorpe.  The tramway closed in 1915 but some sections have been restored for walking and cycling purposes within the Calke Estate.

Calke Abbey features in some of our longer rides in our mapped rides page.  The rides feature the entrance drive through the estate as opposed to the tramway tracks.  The local terrain and road network makes it more suitable for adult cycling, hence why this cycling hub will be very valuable for families wanting to cycle.  That said, Calke is quite close to Melbourne and access points to the Cloud Trail (NCN 6)

We wish The National Trust and Calke Abbey well with the new hub and look forward to seeing it develop. We will post updates on this exciting new project - learn more about the proposed outdoor hub.

The plans can be seen in more detail on the National Trust Website - see the plans for the new hub.

Updates on Derbyshire Cycling Plan and local perspective.

Earlier in the year the blog featured an article on the launch of the Derbyshire Cycling Plan.  Thid ambitious plan has the aim of making Derbyshire the most connected County in terms of sustainable transport.

Further blog articles have highlighted some of the work done locally via the cycling legacy here in South Derbyshire.

Whilst we are now away from the summer months the work continues here and in the rest of Derbyshire.  Recently an update was published and this can be found on the Derbyshire Sport website.

Click here to read about updates to the Derbyshire Cycling Plan

An important part of the updates is the publication of the South Derbyshire Cycle Action plan.  This exiting and detailed document highlights the current scenario, the aims and an idea of how the plan will be achieved.  One of the key aspects is involvement of those who have a passion to make the plan work and advocate the benefits of walking and cycling around South Derbyshire.

Click here to read about the South Derbyshire Cycle Action Plan (and link to download)

If you have read this article and the Action plan and feel that you can contribute, you cn contact South Derbyshire District Council on the followng email:

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Ferry bridge over the River Trent now re-open

As recent posts have stated the last year of commuting into Burton from South Derbyshire has been more difficult due to the closure of the Ferry bridge over the River Trent.  The pedestrian Victorian bridge and viaduct over the Trent washlands form a key part of the route into Burton avoiding the busy A444 St Peters Bridge.

The bridge and viaduct were originally built solely for pedestrians and cycling incurred a fine, which I am reliably informed was regularly enforced!  Common sense prevailed in the early 1990's when the bridge was opened to cyclists.  To read more about the bridge and it's history, click here to access the Wikipedia page.
The early morning hue over the Trent once more visible from the Ferry bridge
In recent years the bridge had been showing it's age and some of the original decorative features had been long since removed.  The deck in particular was falling apart.

Significant funding was required to bring about the repairs required to make the bridge structurally sound and further funding was raised by a group called Friends of the Ferry bridge to address the decorative issues.
An article on the Staffordshire County Council website explains in more detail the work done on all aspects of the bridge and show before, during and after pictures.
The improvement to the finish is clear

The deck and new railings are a vast improvement

Click here to read more about how the bridge has been repaired (from Staffordshire County Council website)

It may have been a long time coming but the result was certainly worth waiting for!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Ferry Bridge nearly ready.....

The daily commute in and out of Burton continues to be one of frustration for all users, though particularly cyclists and pedestrians who normally use the Ferry bridge over the River Trent.  The Ferry bridge carries NCR63 into Burton and is a vital part of infrastructure within the area.

Recent roadworks further up the road in South Derbyshire have emphasised the difference in approach to road network maintenance and sustainable transport network maintenance as will be discussed below.

For over a year now the bridge has been closed due to essential repairs.  One could argue if the bridge had been maintained properly over recent years, work of such magnitude may not be required.  Thankfully the bridge is now starting to appear from under the scaffolding but it has taken a long time.

The bridge, restored to it's former glory including coats of arms, is gradually reappearing from under the scaffolding.

In that year, a very unofficial looking diversion has been signed via the very busy St Peters Bridge.  The fairly wide path on the bridge has not been signed as shared use during this time so it is unclear whether cycling on the path is strictly legal.  Recent works on the footpath diversion have clearly not helped either.

The diversion route certainly raises questions.

The photos show the approach to the bridge via a bus stop and also show how busy the traffic can be over the bridge (and this is not at its peak).  This would be bad enough for a temporary diversion for only a week but to leave it like this for so long has risked accidents.  At around half a mile, I feel that dismounting is not an option.  Some pedestrians have made it clear that they don't think cyclists should be on the path, whilst most seem to accept that there is little alternative.  It is this lack of clarity that leads to uncertainty and potential for accidents.  Also, the behaviour of some cyclists has been concerning, often not even slowing down when approaching pedestrians.

Works on the path have not helped, though these were thankfully quickly completed.

Cycling on the pavement seems to be coming habitual in Burton and is one of my pet hates,  but this whole diversion debacle is one of the reasons why people don't feel safe on some of the roads.

The work on the Ferry bridge looks like it is being done to a high standard and is a credit to those involved.  Even from a distance it looks like the previously dilapidated structure has been given a new lease of life.  The Friends of the Ferry bridge have done a lot of work in persuading the authorities to reinstate the bridge to it's original condition and their work has been referred to in previous articles on this blog and also, as shown below, in the Burton Mail.

Click here to read more about the detailed work on the bridge.

Read here about the re-opening of the Ferry Bridge

Whilst the work on the bridge has clearly been challenging, it has taken a long time.  I'm not sure whether this has been due to the technical challenges faced or whether, according to some users, work has not been ongoing all of the time.

It is certainly worth noting that resurfacing works on 3 roundabouts on the A444 and A514 around Castle Gresley has been done very quickly.  Notably this has been achieved by significantly more people working through the night to achieve the task, like most other road projects.

I'm now hoping that the "Cyclists Dismount" signs have been removed from the Ferry Bridge when it reopens.  If not I'm sure it will feature within these pages...