Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2009/06/17 Sunset at Wincobank

Sheffield FridayNightRide

Sunset at Wincobank

Friday June 19 2009

Meet Barkers Pool

6-6.30 for a 6.45 start

Bring lights and locks!

This Sheffield FridayNightRide is on the longest Friday of the year and the Friday of Bike Week.  Hopefully the weather will be fine and so to celebrate the solstice lets ride up to Wincobank Iron Age Fort by a circuitous route and watch the sun go down from there and then drop down into the Don Valley and speed back into town along the Five Weirs Walk for a drink to celebrate Sheffield FridayNightRide being one year old – and all the joy we have had!

This ride goes through some ancient and curious places in Sheffield, probably best explored when it is light.  Bring out your inner child! we are going to have an adventure.

Heads up! I did a recce on my Raleigh hybrid and that was OK.  If the weather is dry then this ride will involve some trails and unmetalled roads and maybe some pushing one’s bike up a trail for a few yards, in which case it will not suit thoroughbred road bikes (see blue route on map).  If the weather is or has been wet then the ride is on roads or good quality paths and should suit all types of bike (see green route on map which misses out the first part of the blue route).  The blue route takes in a restored cycle path on the east side of the Don that is worth knowing about.  We can’t avoid some climbs but if you have never been up through Wincobank Wood then it may be of interest and there are some ancient and pretty woods to cycle through in Pitsmoor.  It covers many roads we have travelled before but maybe in a different direction or arriving and leaving in a different direction!  Total distance is just under 13 miles

Map at,-1.462898&spn=0.011333,0.027466&z=15

Route – see the map for more details about the sites and their story

We start at Barkers Pool as it is a central place then

if it is and has been dry we will pedal off through Shalesmoor and pick up Neepsend Lane the north side of Rutland Rd. Just before Neepsend Lane meets Penistone Rd we will turn right into Club Mill Rd and ride along to the end of Club Mill Rd (the second half of this road is unmetalled and quite stony) and just before the bridge over the Don into Hillsborough we turn right into the abandoned Wardsend cemetery at Owlerton.  There is a rough trail up the hill through the cemetery to Shirecliffe and we will have a mix of pushing and cycling (unless you bring a pukka off-road bike to try your luck at cycling all the way up in one go).  At the top we come out onto Longley Avenue West which we follow down to cross Shirecliffe Rd and then enter to our right Roe Woods.

but if it has been wet or is wet we will head out of Barkers Pool through to Waingate and up the Wicker, Spital Hill, Burngreave Rd, Pitsmoor Rd, Barnsley Rd until we get to Norwood Rd, which we head up to, to Herries Rd where we turn left and climb up a bit and turn left into Fairbank Rd and then left into Roe Woods.

OK we’re in Roe Woods and we cycle along some pleasant trails in this ancient deciduous wood that is still coppiced as it was in mediaeval times.  Many of the paths have been ‘blocked’ by tree trunks and this is to stop wayward youths riding around on motorised track bikes, scooters etc.  I think I’ve found a path that will not involve getting off and we head to Little Roe Woods which has got a really fun descent on a trail down to Norwood Rd, we cross over the road and head down to Crabtree Ponds.  From here we will cross Barnsley Rd and head up Osgathorpe Rd, past Devon Gardens (worth a look), until we get over the crest of the ridge and hit Grimesthorpe Rd.

We follow this road parallel and up above the Don Valley to Owler Lane where we turn left to cycle up Wensley St, Hinde House Crescent and a bit of Hinde House Lane with Little Hinde Woods on our left to reach a path into the trail up to Wincobank.  We take this well kept trail up to the top of Wincobank and watch the sun if it is there. (I am taking some bubbly and snacks).  When we are bored of that we can head down the ‘setted’ path to Jenkin Rd and we go down this for a few yards and turn off left to pick up the rough path that goes over the “Roman Ridge” towards Meadowhall.  This ‘ridge’ is an ancient earthwork and the story I heard was that it is pre-Roman and it acted as a tribal boundary – I haven’t had time to check this but the source was a good local historian and Rambler.

Then down onto the Five Weirs Walk and follow this for a pleasant run back to the Wicker and take the new relief road round to the Fat Cat!

Ride Report

13 nightriders of whom five were new to the Sheffield FNR.  A pleasant evening mild with sunny spells and the threat of a shower.   It had been raining in the week and some of us had been on Club Mill Road on the east side of the Don on Wednesday night and it was well muddy and potholed so we went on the road route.

So off down the back of the City Hall carry straight over West St and through the No Entry signs to go the wrong way down Holly St to turn right on Trippet Lane and arrive at Townend Rd, up on the cycle path and across to Campo Lane and drop down again through Meetinghouse Lane to Bank St. Over the lights to Castle St and then left down Waingate and over Lady’s Bridge and along the Wicker towards Burngreave.  Everybody into the idea of a steady ride as we climbed up Spital Hill chatting about the eateries and shops we know and like along the way along the way and up into Pitsmoor.  At thwe top of Burngreave Rd went through the No Entry signs again on the Pitsmoor Rd above the wall along Barnsley Rd – as it is safer then cycling along by a 12 ft high wall with no pavement beside you.  Took a breather at this point

Then down the hill towards Fir Vale and above Osgathorpe Park we took a left up Norwood Rd to Herries Rd, 10 yds on that and left into Fairfax Rd where Mick took everybody too far up the hill and missed the turning into Roe Woods. (His excuse: he’d recce’d it from the other side of the entrance). So group discussion whilst Mick was put right and Nick led the way.  Avoiding the joy riders on quad bikes and motorbikes we pedalled along the obvious top path in Roe Woods out into a small field and then got to the top of Little Roe Woods.  We then came down this ancient woodland on a muddy, stony and steep path which Mick thought was great fun on his old Raleigh and tested everybody’s bike., (patience?) and riding.  So we were back on Norwood Rd and we went right and then left into Crabtree Lane and then took the path through the woods past the Crabtree Ponds which looked splendid in the evening light.

Across the Barnsley Rd and then up Osgathorpe Rd between the park and the mosque with a brief detour to look at Devon Gardens a fully restored Edwardian park, with teh obligatory cheeky nippers, on Abbeyfield Rd – worth a look. A brief stop to look at some crozzle used as coping stones on a stone wall (v Sheffield that) and a brief debate about which steel process it came from (Is it the blast furnace or the cementation furnace?).

Onward, upward and over the ridge onto Grimesthorpe Rd which we pelted along and down into outer Grimesthorpe past the old (and notorious) Earl Marshall School and out onto Owler Lane.  Wincobank Hill loomed opposite.  Down a couple of gears to start to climb Wensley Rd and chat with local young kids out playing, “What are you doing?”; “Taking a bike ride”; -a bewildered “Why?”; “Because its fun and enjoyable”, and then just silence and incredulous looks but at least the nipper on the bike showed us the gennel which took us on to Hinde House Lane.  A few yards up here to turn right onto the path behind the houses and their garages opposite Firth Park Avenue.  This brought us out into a lush meadow and as we put an effort on to follow the trail across the meadow and up into the woods a light fine drizzle cooled us off for 5 minutes.  Most got up to the top on their bikes but a crock like Mick walked the last bit where we all were greeted by a beautiful setting sun and a view over towards Grenoside.  For some this was their first visit to this place which I must admit I think is a bit magical, it was an Iron Age fort and I think on the boundary between the Brigante and Parisi tribes.  It commands a view of the Don Valley across Sheffield towards the Peak District and for miles across Rotherham.  So as the golden ball of the sun drifted slowly down towards the blue-grey horizon, Mick whipped out a bottle of fizzy and a tiffin tin and we drank some prosecco and ate some samosas and bhajis to celebrate one year of FridayNightRiding.  We noted where a WWII anti-aircraft battery had been and were told by Dan of the bomb craters still down on the side of hill below us.

Nick fixed Julian’s puncture and we all set off down the setted path, lifted our bikes over barrier, as large stones have been placed over the bike entrance to stop motorbikes going up the path.  Then down Jenkin Avenue and turn left to follow the rough path over the ‘Roman Ridge’ which is more likely to be an earthwork associated with the Iron Age fort.  Down through the housing estate onto Barrow Rd and then we took a not-too-fast-not-too-slow-a-just-right ride along the 5 weirs walk and went to see the plaque on the building on Corby St commemorating where stainless steel was invented.  Then back and round the cycle paths on the new relief rd into Kelham Island and the Fat Cat for a rewarding beer and packet of crisps. 


“We have nothing to lose but our chains!”
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