This route starts on one of the better quality cycle routes in Sheffield. Starting at Meadowhall, it follows the course of a disused railway along the Blackburn Valley as far as Ecclesfield – you can get to Chapeltown but there are rough sections beyond Butterthwaite Lane. Running parallel are the M1, the Sheffield – Barnsley railway (why two railways were needed along here is beyond me) and the busy B6082, so there is some competition for your transport choice (although I know which one I prefer.)
Trail access is easy at Meadowhall with regular trains from Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster. (Supertram come here as well but have no use for your money unless you have a folding bike or are on foot. )
The first part of the trail is on NCN67 and links to NCN6 at Meadowhall.
From Meadowhall Interchange – head for the Park and Ride and follow the signs. There are three unecessarily draconian access barriers as you leave the Interchange – you can avoid two of these by leaving via the car park, turning left onto Barrow Road and accessing the trail via the entrance to the Travelodge.
At Grange Lane, if you are heading for Parson Cross & Grenoside (For TPT West towards Manchester) turn left onto the road and right onto Ecclesfield Rd. Pick up the route about a quarter of a mile along to the left. The main trail continues on an paved surface. About half-a-mile further along the trail leaves the old railway and you can head north to Leeds and York or East to Hull, with an eventual link to Chapeltown straight on. For a faster onward journey to Chapeltown continue on the signed track to Butterthwaite Farm, and when you reach the junction carry straight on Loicher Lane until you come down to Ecclesfield, then continue on the A6135. (f you turned right at the junction, this would take you on the Trans-Pennine Trail towards Thorpe Hesley, Wentworth and Barnsley)
But you can continue on the old railway alignment (the large mound of earth under the bridge has been removed) on stretches of path that are highly variable, until you come to the bridge over Loicher Lane which is under repair, negotiate this with care and you will come to a business park that has a rough track encircling it. We recommend the lower track which comes out on an access road into the Business Park – use the cycle track and at the far end look for the continuation of the route on the other side of the A629.
This continues along the back of a housing estate with woodland on one side – this is part of the threatened Smithy Wood ancient woodland site. You pass the very pleasant town park on your left and the route gets a bit rougher before it exits onto the new Coppice Wood housing development. At the end of this is the A6135 and you can turn left and first right onto Cart Road to access the Trans-Pennine Trail towards Tankersley where you can join the Timberland Trail (these routes are quite rough – MTB recommended).
Or you can continue down the trail into Chapeltown where Chapucinno is an excellent little coffee shop and the Commercial is a great pub.
Chapeltown has a station with trains to Sheffield and Leeds and Huddersfield via Barnsley and the Trans-Pennine Trail has a link with Grenoside to get you over into the Upper Don Valley.