[Talk-GB] National Cycle Network - filling the gaps - NCN54

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemeD.net
Mon Mar 8 23:23:50 GMT 2010

Someoneelse wrote:

> Another North Midlands one that could do with checking is NCN54:
> http://www.openstreetmap.org/?relation=37545
> OSM has the northern section of it marked as going all the way up  
> the High Peak Trail to meet the Tissington Trail and NCN68 as well  
> as turning left down Minninglow Lane towards Hulme End - I suspect  
> that the  northern High Peak Trail bit is probably wishful  
> thinking.  Also, there seems to be a gap just south of Hartington  
> (just after it crosses from Derbyshire into Staffordshire).
> There's also an NCN54A marked on the ground and as an ncn_ref in  
> OSM, but not as a relation near the High Peak Trail west of  
> Wirksworth. Googling it suggests that the CTC seem to know about  
> that, but there's no mention on Sustrans' site.

I've cycled large chunks of NCN 54 and can confirm that the route is  
indeed beyond insane. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was NCN 54  
that prompted Sustrans to rethink their numbering system.

The current route as conceived is shaped like a reverse P. It begins  
with Stourport-Kidderminster-Stourbridge-Dudley, then it follows NCN  
81 and 5 for a while, then Lichfield-Burton-Etwall. At Etwall it  
starts the 'White Peak Loop', the top of the P, by heading clockwise  
to Uttoxeter, then the Manifold Trail, the High Peak Trail, back down  
via the Little Eaton tramway, Derby, and down the railway path to  
Etwall again.

Then there's these funny 54A and 54C appendages (both of which I've  
seen on the ground, with lovely little wooden signs) and 54B (which I  
don't recall, but I think it's the northern High Peak Trail that you  
refer to). There's a PDF somewhere on the web which describes all of  
these. It was, I think, a Peak District National Park project with  
some European funding.

It gets better.

There's an alternative braid from near Stourport to near Kidderminster  
which is either a regional route or part of NCN 54 depending what you  
read. Kidderminster to Stourbridge is not open yet and the towpath  
isn't great. The bit through Dudley isn't open, either, but the Old  
Main Line towpath seems to have been upgraded in readiness. There then  
appears to be an intention to route it up the Wyrley & Essington  
towpath or something, rather than the 81/5 multiplex. This is near-ish  
to Andy's patch and he may know more.

North of Alrewas there's a less than ideal bit of route which follows  
the footpath of the horrid, horrid A38 dual carriageway. In Burton-on- 
Trent (where I write this), there's a half-complete new route which is  
signed but yet peters out in a field. In the last year a new cycle  
path has been installed along a main road, nowhere much near NCN 54,  
but it has completely isolated NCN 54 signing for no readily  
discernible reason. Then it follows the A38 again (the intention is to  
build a new traffic-free route) before finally, to great relief,  
joining the lovely railway path. From here to Uttoxeter is fine, then  
it's unsigned until you get to the Peak District bits, then there's  
the A/B/C stuff, then unsigned from High Peak Junction to Little Eaton.

And then you get to Derby which has Local Route 66 and Regional Route  
66. Which are different.

I should point out that lots of the route is really lovely despite the  
confusing numbering. Still, three-digit NCN numbers for the epic win. :)


(Incidentally, the newly signposted part of NCN 45 which we explored  
on Saturday was perhaps the most clearly waymarked route I've  

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