The beautiful Manifold Valley lies just over 10 minutes from The Laurels.
If you’re into geology, it was formed about 325 million years ago by the erosive effects of water on the Carboniferous Limestone plateau, when Britain lay close to the Equator. If you’re not – it’s just a really fantastic place to visit because it looks nice.

We decided to hire a tandem from Brown End Farm Cycle Hire, which just happens to lie at the start of the 8 mile Manifold trail which follows the meandering river.
The beauty of this trail, just like others we like, is that it follows an old railway line. The fact that trains are really rubbish at going up hills, means that these remnants of a steamier age are pretty much flat. Which suits us fine 🙂

One of the highlights of this route, apart from the awesome countryside and views, is Thor’s Cave. This impressively large grotto sits about 180ft above the cycle path, which means only one thing; – Helen’s going to want to climb up there and stand right on the edge.

As such, we spent an hour climbing up there, exploring the cave and standing in stupid places.
Helen doesn’t suffer from vertigo like I do, but she does suffer from what we call downigo. This means she’s quite happy to stand on the edge of a 4,000ft drop like we did at the Grand Canyon, but she’s terrified of going down really steep steps. I like to think of this as natural justice 😉

Having satisfied our need for a bit of adrenaline, we walked back to the tandem and headed off down the trail. Once through the Swainsly Tunnel, which incidentally has it’s own micro-climate, reducing the air temperature in there to just above absolute freezing, we emerged into the sunshine and headed for the pub for lunch.
Once fully satiated, courtesy of a fabulous creamy pasta and chicken dish we waddled off in the direction of home.

All that was left really, was to stop off at the Lee House Farm Tea Shop for (you guessed it) tea and scones 🙂

So there you go. A reasonable amount of cycling (according to our legs), a small amount of walking and a large amount of food. What more could you want in a day?