Cycling is an ideal way to get to Rudyard. The former railway line has been converted to a pedestrian/jogging/cycling route so you have a traffic free way of getting to the Lake from the edge of Leek.
From North Street, Leek, to the dam at Rudyard Lake is less than two miles and is completely flat. On the way you will cross the River Churnet, pass close to the canal feeder which takes water from Rudyard to the Caldon Canal and then cycle past the station and engine sheds belonging to the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway. This is also the site of the old main-line station.
If you cycle on to the north end of the Lake, it’s 3.5 miles from Leek. Here, just before the bridge, is where Cliffe Park Halt used to be – look carefully and you can see one or two clues to its existence. After going under the bridge continue straight on past the green barrier – do not take the parallel track on the left hand even though it looks a better surface (you’ll end up on a road at Beat Lane) – and after a further 1.5 miles you’ll come to the end of the trail at the Knot Inn in Rushton Spencer – at one time it was known as the Railway Inn as it was next to Rushton railway station. The station is now a private dwelling and is the only station building on the line which has been preserved.
Unfortunately, the land belonging to the stretch of the railway line in Cheshire was sold off and is no longer accessible so you cannot continue on the trail beyond Rushton Spencer.
This cycle trail is not yet part of the National Cycle Network though it will in the future link up with the Stoke to the Roaches and Manifold Valley cycle ways. However, you can still approach Rudyard from all directions along quiet country lanes. From Wincle and Meerbrook you can get to Rudyard via Highup Lane and Rudyard Road (take care crossing the A523, walking on the pavement if you are unsure). From Congleton take the Biddulph Valley Way out of the town, climb up through Timbersbrook to the Cloud and then take the road down through Woodhouse Green to Rushton Spencer. From the east, Biddulph (Moor) and Lask Edge, take one of the steep hills down to Gratton or Horton and proceed through Rudyard village to the lake. Lovely routes galore!
Cycling in past times
Rudyard has long been a favourite destination for cyclists. Towards the end of the 19th century when cycling became a popular past time for the masses many newspapers printed articles on suggested cycling routes. Here is one published by the Manchester Weekly Times on 19 May 1893 in which it extols the pleasures and interest to be found in cycling to Rudyard.