Sunday, December 03, 2006

To Walworth Gate, by bike, in a gale...

As part of the latest diet and fitness regime, I got the bike out and headed for Archers Ice Cream Parlour (pictured left) this morning.

The farm is on one of the Council's suggested cycle routes. From Haughton, most of the trip is off-road, using purpose-built cycle paths - in turn the Skerne Valley Path, North Park, Faverdale Black Path and the old Barnard Castle railway line past Branksome (top).

The weather was atrocious, with driving rain thudding into my waterproofs, bringing back long-repressed memories of school rugby on an exposed hill-top in Failand. Still the coffee was good when I got there, when I was joined by Sandy and AJ (middle, scoffing carrot cake).

The cycle paths were in great nick and well-signposted. I'm particularly pleased with the new route along the old Barnard Castle line, which is wide and well-lit. The only tricky elements for relatively inexperienced cyclists (like me) are the places where the route crosses North Road near Zetland Street and then Whessoe Road at Elmtree Street. At both locations we should have purpose-built cyclist and pedestrian light-controlled crossings in the next 9 months.


Mike said...

That's great news about the lights to cross North Road. I always dismounted and crossed using the crossing when I went that way to work.

Darlington Councillor said...

The latest from the Transport team is that both crossings should be in place by the end of April 2007.

Steve said...

I think I'll give that route a go at the weekend, It'll be interesting to see how the route crosses the A1.

Darlington Councillor said...

Hi Steve.

The section which crosses the A1 is public highway. The Barnard Castle track-bed cycle way crosses Newton Lane, which is where you turn right. There is then a mile long ride (past Archdeacon Newton and Acorn Dairy) until the road bends sharply to the left. Here, you proceed along the narrower lane which goes straight on (there is again a cycle route marker). At the top of the lane you reach Walworth Gate, where you turn left. The ice cream parlour/Archers Farm is about three hundred metres on the right.

Have an ice cream for me!