Access Closures Cycling Walking

Upper Goyt Valley road to be closed for tree felling work (again)?

A new road closure order covering “all users” has just appeared for the one-way road between Errwood Reservoir and Derbyshire Bridge in the Peak District’s Upper Goyt Valley near Buxton.

According to the notice granted by Derbyshire County Council (DCC), the road will be closed to enable timber harvesting for over two months, from 26th September to 1st December 2022.

The closure specifically states “for all road users”, but with the usual caveat: “Access will be maintained, whenever reasonably possible, on the affected length of road. The road will re-open as soon as the work is finished.”

We’ve been here before. Back in 2020, it seemed like summer cycling up this spectacular valley could be ruined by a lengthy five month closure order for all users.

Despite this seeming excessive and unworkable, DCC confirmed back to me at least twice that the road would be closed and access wouldn’t be possible for anyone, even pedestrians, citing the dangers of log piles.

But then it just… didn’t close.

However this time, there’s real visible preparation for major felling works in the area around Goytsclough Quarry, above the old packhorse bridge.

Big new gravel tracks off the one-way road have been laid down over several months, to allow access into the plantations which are due for renewal.

From Goytsclough Quarry, a gravel track snakes up into the hillside larch plantation east of Deep Clough.
Up alongside Deep Clough, an old track through this section of forest has been completely relaid ready for felling works.
A hairpin bend leads down to Goytsclough Quarry. This route is also a footpath, a public right of way, but there’s not yet any closure notice on Derbyshire’s path closure register.
Seen today at the height of summer, with the surrounding landscape bursting with bilberries and purple heather, this plantation really does look in a poor way. The valley was already undergoing a gradual replacement of its forests with a more varied mix of species, but the “larch disease” phytophthora ramorum means affected trees are legally required to be removed.
This access further back down the one-way road has been in place almost a year and required new planning permission from the Peak District National Park.

Barring motor vehicles from using the Upper Goyt road as a through-route makes sense (and not just during these works), but it’s hard to see why or even how this main route through the upper valley can be closed to everyone — particularly those on foot.

If it were to fully close on 26th September, it’d be a particular blow for local cycling coming just one day after the nearby A5004 Long Hill is scheduled to re-open to the thunder of regular traffic. From two great cycling routes across this landscape to none!

Perhaps, being hopeful, it could be that the closure order is only in place to allow Forestry England to legally restrict access briefly only as and when required for heavy vehicle movements, rather than a complete 24/7 blockade.

But that’d make visiting the valley or using it as part of a longer cycle ride tricky, if closure times aren’t communicated in advance, as there’s really no easy diversion for cycling. (Don’t they know it’s been elevated to Lost Lanes status?)

So take note but watch this space, again, for access news — and as far as the trees are concerned, we can be certain that more of the Goyt Valley will soon be looking a whole lot barer.

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About Peaks & Puddles

Hello, I'm Anthony. I started Peaks & Puddles to chart the ups and downs of cycling and walking the edges of the Peak District around Buxton, Macclesfield and Stockport, and to help more people explore this brilliant landscape between town and country. Find out more about me and Peaks & Puddles here.