The Middlewood Way was one of the UK's earliest "rails to trail" project having been opened on 30 May 1985 by Climate Change Denier Dr David Bellamy.
The trail which was once rough and badly maintained in places has been re-surfaced for much of its length and is now (as of October 2016) suitable for most types of cyclists except for those on thin-tyred road bikes (even these may find it possible to negotiate in dry periods) as well as walkers and horse riders. The tarmac section between Bollington and Macclesfield is suitable for all cycles.
The trail forms part of National Cycle Network Route 55 from Ironbridge to Preston.
The easiest way to access the trail from Sheffield is to take the Hope Valley stopping service to Romiley. Coming out of the station you'll see the sign for Route 55 down Beech Lane - follow this down via Chadkirk & Vale Road and you'll see the trail go off to the left (pesky access barriers) This takes you over the Goyt via a new bridge that was a really useful Connect2 scheme - try any other route between Romiley and Marple and you'll appreciate the beauty of it! Up the other side past the school and you come out near Rose Hill station which of course is the start of the Middlewood Way. Enjoy!
The trail provides a useful starting point for some longer rides, either back towards Sheffield (either via Pott Shrigley or the Cat & Fiddle, or a little further south the A54 which goes through gorgeous countryside and carries less truck traffic than the A537)
If you're heading off on a long-distance ride towards a destination on the West side of the country it's a great place to start from - we love the Peak District of course but it does sap your energy if you've got further to go!
When you get to Macclesfield, there's a gap in the route but if you follow the temporary route signs you will come out into countryside on the south of the town.