Sustrans Sheffield

Activities of the Sheffield Sustrans Ranger group.

NCN6 Sheffield to Manchester

Route Overview

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The need to increase the visibility of cycling in the Hope Valley area was noted in August 2005 when Cycle Sheffield held a meeting in Hathersage. The area has some fantastic quiet lanes that are very suitable for cycling, but cycling was not well promoted as a way of accessing the Peak from the Sheffield and Manchester directions. The Peak Park anniversary route from Sheffield was not signposted after Ringinglow, while access from Manchester is also difficult, not just because of the hills but also due to busy roads. The Trans-Pennine trail is a fantastic resource but skirts round to the north, and is very much a multi-user trail rather than a cycle route. The other multi-user trails in Derbyshire, High Peak, Tissington and Monsal have a north-south orientation and do not help much if crossing in an East-West direction.  The two main roads across the Peak,  A57 & A628, do not make for pleasant or particularly safe cycling, although the introduction of a 50mph limit on the A57 has made it safer for all road users including cyclists.

At meetings to rationalise the cycle network in the Sheffield area it was noted that Sustrans NCN6 came into Sheffield and fizzled out around Meadowhall, but picked up again as part of the Manchester Cycleway. The Connect2 scheme at Marple opened up further possibilities. This led us to propose this route. NCN6 is a long-distance Sustrans route intended to link London with the North-West of England.

The route starts as a continuation of the signposted Peak Park anniversary route, then uses minor roads in the Hope Valley, taking advantage of the closed road up Mam Tor, with a stretch along a busier road past Rushup Edge, then taking to canal towpaths in the west side of the Pennines, with further linkages made available by the Marple Connect2 scheme. There are options to use the TPT to traverse south Manchester, connect with the Fallowfield Loop to get into the student hotspots, or stay on the canal network to get right to the city centre, at Piccadilly or head south to Macclesfield via the Middlewood Way.

Although the route includes two short  ‘Cyclist Dismount’ sections the need to dismount is offset by the scenic nature of these sections and it may be possible to make improvements to these in future.

There are also options to integrate public transport with the journey – The Hope Valley line local  trains run parallel to the first section of the route, whilst the Buxton line can be easily picked up once on the western side of the Hills. Further north, trains run regularly from Glossop and Romiley to Manchester via Guide Bridge. Northern Rail are keen to encourage bike-rail integration on these routes, possibly by introducing bike hire or encouraging private operators to do so. Businesses along the route are likely to benefit from increased patronage from route users, e.g. Bike shops at Hope, Bradfield and New Mills.

Route Description  (East-West)

OK, you’ve climbed out of Sheffield using the Anniversary Route, and we hope you enjoyed the nature trail, the Shepherds Wheel (newly restored) and the Rotary Club viewpoint on Fulwood Lane. 

 View of Sheffield from the Mayfield Valley
Ever upwards...

You turned right onto Ringinglow Rd and just beyond Burbage Moor (where Kiera Knightley was famously filmed in Pride and Prejudice, 2005, and  if you’re lucky there will be an ice cream van) take the right turn towards Bamford Moor.  Avoid the temptation to swoop down the steep incline towards Stanton Lees at the next turning, as you will have a steep climb out again if you do. Instead, take the right turn and continue to the next cattle grid where the Long Causeway joins and take the next right, a sharp climb on a straight road followed by a nice switchback and steep downhill to arrive above Bamford on the A6013. 

Dave Stevens, former Sustrans Volunteer Co-ordinator, on the climb from Stanage towards Burbage

At Bamford by turning left and heading down the main road for about a mile you could visit the Anglers Rest, a community pub and cafe that is very welcoming to cyclists.

The NCN route, however, turns right, making use of the shared use pavement, and you should walk your bike over the Labybower Dam wall, then turning left to use the Thornhill Trail bridleway (a former railway used to construct the dams) and taking the next right fork to reach the road towards Thornhill. 

Another option on emerging is to go l. then first r. to use the road to Thornhill – either way a very pleasant trip along the Derwent valley. When you’ve climbed up to Thornhill take the narrow r. towards Aston running above the Hope Valley, and follow through until you drop down to the outskirts of Hope.

From Hope  there is a circuitous back road via Pindale that will take you within spitting distance of the massive Bradfield Quarry Site – an interesting contrast of heavy industry in the midst of an area of outstanding natural beauty, perhaps giving a taste of what the Peak District was like in the Industrial Revolution, when there was far more industry than there is now. Traffic will drop off as you start to climb the Shivering Mountain, and there are some gates and sections of broken road to negotiate until you find yourself on Rushup edge – not generally an edge you Rush Up though! If you were looking for something a little steeper Winnats Pass has forked off on the left, although as it is now the only motor route west from Castleton it tends be busy. Sustrans signage currently ends at Castleton.

Although you are now back on the A625 it’s generally not too busy, although can be somewhat exposed on a windy day. Note the Pennine Bridleway crossing the road – recommended for MTB’ers. As you start to drop towards Chapel-en-le-Frith, you will come across the Chestnut Centre, at Slackhall, on the right.. Drop off to say hello to the otters by all means, then take the minor road towards Wash, which will bring you under an impressive triangle of railway viaducts, where you turn left then right for Chinley on the B6062. If you’ve had enough, Chinley benefits from regular fast and slow trains to both Sheffield and Manchester, whilst there a couple of good pubs at Whitehouse, on the south side of the village, to while away the wait for your train.

But if we’ve just whetted your appetite, on your way down the hill from Chinley towards Whitehouse there is a bridleway following the river. Follow this through to Bugsworth Basin, (where the Pennine Cycleway crosses on its way up to Glossop to meet up with the Trans-Pennine Trail) and you will come to the junction with the Peak Forest canal, just north of Whaley Bridge. Turn right to head north and it will take you through New Mills. The new Connect2 scheme at Marple will enable you to continue your journey.

Route Highlights

  • The gorgeous Porter Valley Route.
  • Dramatic views across Burbage & Bamford moors and courteous treatment by drivers.
  • Ladybower Dam & the Thornhill Trail
  • Pretty countryside around Slackhall.
  • The High Peak tramway
Current Issues and Potential Enhancements
Resolution of these issues would move the route from “interim” to “fully open”

Responsibility of (Person)
Responsibility of (Organization)
Reduced traffic on Division St.

Sheffield City Council - Transport & Highways

Permission to use Guernsey Rd/Lynwood Gardens/Park Lane rather than Clarkehouse Rd

Sheffield City Council - Transport & Highways
Slower speeds/improved traffic calming on Clarkehouse Rd & Endcliffe Vale Rd

Sheffield City Council
Negotiations in progress - raised at Cycle Forum Jan 2015
Removal of demarcation line in Bingham Park - making it fully Shared Use

Sheffield City Council - Parks & Countryside

Better crossings at Hangingwater, Whiteley Wood Rd, “Quiet” Lane.

Sheffield City Council - Transport & Highways
Due in the 2014/4 Financial year.
Slower speeds on Sheffield section of Ringinglow Rd

Sheffield City Council - Transport & Highways

Investigate use of Long Causeway

SCC/Derbyshire CC/Eastern Moors partnership
Motor traffic was banned from LC in 2014. If the surface was improved and subject to a maintenance programme we could adopt this route alignment. Unfortunately at the insistence of Mountain Biking groups the sections that have been re-surfaced have not been done to a standard that would enable cycling for all.
Allow cycling across Ladybower Dam.

Severn Trent Water
(Give way to pedestrians). Alternative road route is via Lydgate Lane & Carr Lane
Surface improvements at North end of Thornhill trail

Allow cycling on track between Aston & Hope Cemetery - Negotiate via Caravan Club.

Derbyshire CC./Caravan Club?
Interim alternative is on-road from Aston to Hope, short section on A6187, l. onto School Lane
Metalled cycleway on Mam Tor

Derbyshire CC/Peak Park.
Currently requires ‘cyclist dismount’. On-road alternative is Winnats Pass although we would not want to sign this as it is too steep and busy for typical NCN route users.
Investigate use of Pennine Bridleway Rushup - Hayfield.

This could be an option if motor traffic was banned and the surface was improved & maintained to a higher standard. Route could then go via Hayfield & Sett Trail.
Slower speeds on Rushup Edge

Widen pavement on A624 between (?name of lane) & Charley Lane.

Access issues on High Peak tramway - current status is unclear.

Improve crossing at Bugsworth Basin.

Partial re-surfacing of canal towpath New Mills - Marple.

Completion of Connect 2 scheme at Marple.

Completed July 2012

Signing schedule.

With Local Authority resources stretched we are not expecting official signage to be installed straight away although it would be welcome if this was possible. We propose to use Sustrans vinyl signs, which are approved by the DfT, to sign the interim route. This will be done by Sustrans Volunteers according to Sustrans route signing standards. This approach was successfully used on the Pennine Cycleway, NCN68.

Repeater signs will be applied to existing sign-posts as appropriate  - approx one mile intervals.


Signing Type
Sheffield - Ringinglow
Add ‘6’ signs to existing cycle route signage
Right Turn sign at Burbage (popular end) junction, also sign link to Hathersage.
Right Turn at Hook’s Car & Dennis Knoll.
Done at Burbage. Not possible to sign right turn for New Road.
Yorkshire Bridge
Right turn for Labybower. Alternate left turn for on-road r. to Lydgate Lane  
r. turn done. DEcided not to sign Lydgate Lane
Ladybower dam
Join shared-used pavement for access to dam. Left turn at west side of dam. R. Fork for access to Thornhill trail (surface needs improvement at this end of trail.)  
Dam access done. Thornhil not done (needs plasticised signs - on order)
Link to Bamford Station via Thornhill Trail.r.onto Carr Lane,  r. turn in village for Aston
Link already signed. Needs direction signs for Thornhill
No action unless the track between Aston & Hope cemetery can be made available.

r. at A6187, l. at School Lane, Left at Pindale Rd. ‘Straight on’ confirmation at Dirtlow Rake.
Straight on confirmation at Bargate, l. turn through car park, r, on A6187.straight on at Winnats pass junction.
Done. Current end of signage.
Mam Tor
Cyclists dismount at closed section.

Windy Knoll
r. turn

r. turn at Chestnut Centre,

Chapel Milton
r, turn over railway bridge

New Smithy
l. turn then immediate right to B6062

l. turn to Whitehouse

r. turn to Peak Tramway.

Bugsworth Basin
junction with NCN68

r. turn on canal towpath for Marple.

New Mills Canal Basin
Links to rail stations

Link to Connect2 scheme

Signing schedule (West-East)

Link from Connect2 scheme

New Mills Canal Basin
Links to rail stations

l. turn on canal towpath for Chinley

Bugsworth Basin
junction with NCN68

l. turn to Chinley

r. turn to New Smithy

New Smithy
l. turn then immediate right from B6062

Chapel Milton
l. turn over railway bridge
(investigate whether the longer route via Malcoff would be a less steep option for cyclists in the West-East direction)
l. to Mam Tor/Castleton

Mam Tor
Cyclists dismount at closed section.

Straight on at Winnats pass junction, r. turn through car park, The Stones, straight on confirmation at Bargate.
Done. Current start of signing.
Left fork at Dirtlow Rake
r. at School Lane, r. at A6187, l. to Aston
l. turn in village for Ladybower Dam. Link to Bamford Station via Thornhill Trail. On-road alternative via Carr Lane
Not done  - requires plasticised signs (On order)
Left turn on exit from Thornhill Trail, r. across Dam, r, from East side of Dam, re-join carriageway for l. Bamford Moor.
Left Turn at Hook’s Car and Dennis Knoll, Burbage (popular end) junctions, also sign link to Hathersage.
Done left turn - not done Hathersage link (Little John Loop)
Add ‘6’ signs to existing cycle route.

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