Closures Cycling Funding Infrastructure Safety

Long Hill A5004 road to Buxton reopened to all traffic

So long, Long Hill! After over five months of nearly traffic-free peace on the dramatic road between Whaley Bridge and Buxton, the A5004 is now open to all traffic again.

Originally pencilled in for 26th September and then 3rd October, Derbyshire County Council pushed the reopening back twice to today, adding a short encore to what has been a memorable summer for High Peak cycling.

The council has now confirmed as of 1pm on 5th October 2022 that Long Hill has reopened as a through-route to all traffic. Temporary traffic lights are in place where the major landslip has been repaired, until the boundary wall alongside is fully rebuilt.

A great thing about the Long Hill closure was having a quiet route north out of Buxton, opening up a new way to get “home” from the wider Peak District for many.
Quiet summer days on Long Hill.

Now, the road will return to its usual busyish and certainly very fast self. Perhaps busier than usual, thanks to drivers choosing to divert away from the roadworks on the A6 north of Buxton, where a new roundabout is being built with Homes England funding.

The A5004 was previously the A6, but re-numbered when the Chapel-en-le-Frith bypass provided a quicker route to Buxton via the Black Brook valley in the late 1980s. Despite that hugely destructive dual carriageway being intended to replace it, Long Hill was never truly downgraded and remains busy and fast, largely just providing an “alternative to the A6”.

During the closure, a locked gate at the roadblock was only intended to be accessible by council teams and certain others, but locks were apparently sawn through and the gate itself even rammed down by motorists. On my last ride up the “closed” road, the gate had been left wide open (pending another lock), with traffic including an Ocado driver racing through.

Not so closed: Long Hill roadblock on 24th September. (Yes, I closed the gate.)


Total pageviews to date on the original post: ‘Long Hill closure opens a new “Snake Pass” for Derbyshire cycling’

Those who’ve enjoyed and had travel enabled by the road being “closed” now have to go back to looking for other routes — which are few and far between. In fact, pretty much none exist. Certainly not with the same surface quality nor relatively steady-going (if long, very long!) gradient as enjoyed on Long Hill this summer.

Safer Roads Fund

Derbyshire County Council are planning to finally bring forward their “Safer Roads Fund” proposals for this very road soon, but first impressions are that this will offer barely anything for vulnerable users. One headline intervention will instead, astonishingly, be the proposal to iron-out one of the bends in the road: heavy earth-moving just to allow people to drive faster with less care; great!

Look out for more on the Safer Roads Fund when proposals are made public but, for now, it’s a big farewell to that long, enabling summer of Long Hill cycling that was.

No Goyt way out

Never mind losing the temporary joy of a traffic-free Long Hill, a regular route up and out of the Goyt Valley is also now out of action due to tree felling works.

Looking into the Upper Goyt Valley from the layby on Long Hill, a view now only accessible for the bravest of people cycling.

The one-way road from Errwood to Derbyshire Bridge closed to “all users” on 26th September and isn’t due to reopen until 1st December 2022. With the closure having been announced before but never gone ahead, it wasn’t certain if the route would really be blocked. But as felling is well underway and the road has been pictured covered in mud and debris, it looks like it will (officially at least) be a no-go until the work’s complete.

This affects the Cat & Fiddle Climbs cycle route on this website and also one of the rides in the Lost Lanes Central England book. If you’re not able to walk through, there is no good diversion.

Having said goodbye to Long Hill, this briefly takes us from two great, quiet routes for cycling, on this north-south axis between Whaley Bridge and the wider Peak District, to none.

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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.