My local circular mountain bike ride .. 14 miles of pleasure & sweat!


This is a ride between Derby and Ilkeston and starts off from my home in Oakwood, and is a real gem.


It mainly incorporates bridleways, through wooded parkland and hedged green lanes and across open fields. Every second building seems to be a large brick farm with a handful of stables and horses to match. The surfaces are mixed and there are pleasant small woods with mature oak, lime, beech and hazel coppices. I will pass a Stately home, hermits Cave, an old ruined Abbey and the Cat & Fiddle windmill.


The wildlife on offer include Llama, Ostrichís, Buzzards, Rabbits and if Iím very lucky fallow deer!


The pictures you will see are all from different times of the year and all taken on this ride




So off we go and only 5 minutes down the road we hit a bridleway heading out of Oakwood and into the open countryside and towards the Locko Estate, here we pass the Llamas at Crow Wood farm.



Locko Hall is a private stately home dating back some 3oo or so years, the Babington horse trials were staged here a few times and this part of the ride is a gentle saunter through the grounds.



So through the gates we go..











On exiting the Locko Park estate we head towards Dale Abbey, the path out is uphill and very sandy, so drop down a few gears and let the heart rate rise as I reach the top. A quick breather and then itís a fast downhill a farm track at Dunnshill heading towards Columbine Farm.


A local resident wonders what all speed and the fuss is about !




A gentle climb through Dale Hills and a quick glance back at Columbine Farm, catching the early morning sun




Onwards through the woods I catch a quick glimpse of the Farm and Church at Dale Abbey which is my next destination. This little quaint village is only 3 miles from the suburbs of Derby.




Parts of the Church date back to 1150, when a hermit started to build his chapel and house on the site, the church is the only one in England to share its roof with a farm. The church is at the rear of the farm




So down the path and turn right, which takes me back into another wood this one being Hermits Wood.


Dale Abbey, (which was originally known as Depedale), begins when a Derby baker had a dream about the Virgin Mary who appeared and told him to go to Depedale, to live a life of solitude and prayer, the hermit carved out a home and chapel in a sandstone cliff. The Hermitís Cave is now designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.





After the hermit died, word spread of the religious significance of the place and Dale Abbey was founded in about 1200 by an order known as the White Canons because of the colour of their habits. The abbey remained until 1538, when it was dissolved and the greater part demolished by the command of Henry VIII. This is the only part left standing and is a designated ancient monument.




From here the Cat & Fiddle Windmill can also be seen, this is one of only two that can be found in Derbyshire




A quick ride through the village Ö Abbey House contains some of the remains of the Abbeyís refectory and fireplace and the Abbeys foundations and archway are at the rear




Poplar Farm a lovely old half-timbered building dating back to the 1500s.




Parts of the Carpenters Arms date back to the late 1600s.




Resisting the temptation to get tanked up, its time to carry on, towards Hollies Farm and passing the new born lambs






and the rabbits !




The cows at Lower Haggs Farm always seem to intimidate me, and make me nervous, they climb these mounds and look down at you, at times some donít even move off the dam path..




So I hastily pedal pass these and head up to Upper Hagg farm





A much more friendly chap who normally comes over to say hello!




From here itís downhill a mix of green lane, farm track and single track





Some more of my least favourite beasts, fortunately this time thereís a fence between us!





Rattling down the single track disturbs all the crows




At the end a pheasant looks on ..




Were now in Stanley




Taking it easy riding next to the local residents, and hoping they know the green cross code!




Down another track and through the small ford




Now we see these strange creatures roaming around a field




The last gate, before hitting the country lane back to home




A proud dad keeps a wary eye on me!




If Iím lucky fallow deer can been seen in these fields, but not today!



And that concludes my 14 mile circular ride ...