Cycle path is key to village

PLANS to complete a further section of a popular cycle trail which has the potential to be “one of the most spectacular in northern Europe” is vital to the survival of local businesses, a trader has said.

Gary Shaw runs Rowsley Post Office and has welcomed the news that the next phase of an ambitious 60-mile circular route could connect Bakewell to Rowsley, with hopes it can attract thousands more cyclists to the Dales.

He said: “Tourism is vital to the continued upkeep of the Peak District National Park, we are not a ‘chocolate box’ image of rural life, we are a business like everyone else and this offers us a lifeline of opportunity to survive in these tough times.

“Rowsley sometimes gets overlooked on the tourism trail and the shame is we have a wealth of attractions to make a pleasurable day out for any visitor to the Peak District National Park.”

“From the historic Caudwell’s mill, the award-winning Peacock hotel, the Grouse and Claret pub and camp site and the Peak Village Outlet shopping centre, the attractions are there in place and this is an ideal project where all businesses can benefit.

“Rowsley Post Office and Stores was built in 1910 and has opened its doors for 112 years, that is something to be proud of.

“It is a rare occurrence these days to have a village post office and any opportunities that come our way for another 100 years is something we fully support.”

Peaks Cycle Links is spearheading the campaign, and director and trustee Jeremy Taylor has said it would be one of Europe’s finest cycle routes.

The latest proposed phase will utilise the derelict railway line running through the village, continuing the track where it currently ends at Coombs Road at Bakewell, along to Rowsley via tunnels at Haddon Hall.

It is part of a grand plan to eventually complete the circular route that would include Matlock, Cromford, Wirksworth, Buxton and Bakewell.

Last year a section running from Great Longstone to Topley Pike was completed.

Although landowners have agreed with the route, planning permission and financial backing is still being sought, although Peaks Cycle Link say Derbyshire County Council are taking a lead role in helping to develop the plans.