Go East Young Cyclist!
What is it about the East? West of Sheffield we have the fabulous Peak District, an easy ride with just a little tussock of a hill between us and there, or the Hope Valley train if you want to cheat. To the North lies the Rust Belt, forty miles of post-industrial wasteland before the Dales beckon. South lies the Promised Land, where the cycle routes are paved with gold or at least tarmac. But east? East lies an hour’s worth of suburbia before you so much as see a hint of countryside. If you take the trail it’s a litany of broken glass, stolen cars, roaring motorbikes and rough (but improving) surfaces. On the road, the man with the biggest 4×4 rules. You’d take the train, but on a Sunday morning that train don’t run here anymore. This is land that has been thoroughly worked over for it’s natural wealth – trees, coal, iron ore – and is now starting to recover and regenerate.
Still the East calls to me. There’s something about that corridor of green running along the Parkway, those patches of ancient forest amongst the urban squalor, the shoots of renewed vigour in an exhausted scene.
If you manage to make it out of town, Rother Valley will offer you a cup of your favourite beverage, and once you’ve made it up that last hill, there is rolling countryside to enjoy. Worksop might not have too much to entice you, beyond an easy canal route through town, and you might not want to linger long in Manton town, but beyond this Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest await, with plenty of off-road to tire you out and greenery to sooth your aggravated brain – and did you just see Robin Hood and his merry men slipping away into the forest? Lincolnshire and the Wolds await you further east, and if you head south through Nottinghamshire you might just find yourself in Nottamun Town, sampling the ales in the Trip to Jerusalem or the Lincolnshire Poacher.
Somewhat more prosaically, here we have a commuting route between Worksop and Sheffield, with some off-road alternatives.
Road route from Worksop to Sheffield avoiding the A57
(Note the A57 now has an off-road cycle path between the M1 roundabout and Todwick crossroads – it’s not well-connected to the rest of the cycle network though.)
From Worksop Town Centre, Bridge Place, follow NCN6 along Dock Rd and around the fishing lake. Continue along the Chesterfield Canal towpath – but at Sandy Lane we recommend taking to Shireoaks Rd for a quicker journey. As you pass the church in Shireoaks take a left towards Thorpe Salvin.
This takes you on to the signposted NCN route 6. Its slightly uphill to Thorpe Salvin but not really noticeable unless there’s a blasting headwind. Continue through Thorpe Salvin to Harthill (link to Creswell and Welbeck here) and turn left at the T-junction. Need to be a bit careful here as its difficult to see what is coming from your right. Go past the Beehive pub and then a small collection of shops before turning right at a mini-roundabout.
NCR6 leaves this route at this point, following a bridleway across some fields (not in very good condition when last checked, and a tedious access barrier has recently been installed) coming out in Wales and then heading for Rother Valley Country Park.
Keep following this road through Woodall, under the M1 and then up, down and up again until you get to a T-junction. Turn right here and enjoy the downhill towards Killamarsh. Its left at a mini-roundabout and then continuing downhill into Killamarsh itself. The road surface starts to deteriorate at this point as you get nearer the Halfway tramstop but at the time of writing resurfacing works have started. You pass under the disused railway bridge that carries the Trans-Pennine Trail, and at this point you can switch either to the Connect scheme to get you to Halfway avoiding a very dangerous piece of road, or onto the TPT itself which will get you to Sheffield by a more circuitous, but mostly traffic-free route.