Iron to Iron: Six-part radio series

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Pop-on your lycra and pedal away with us on the Iron to Iron Journey; 6 days and over 300 hundred miles exploring England's industrial heritage by bike.

From the Meldon to the Bennerley Viaduct and plenty of iron bridges in between, a new six-part radio series follows a team of amateur cyclists on their journey at the end of the summer in 2021.

The series has been produced by Inkslingers Media in collaboration with Erewash Sound, funded by the Audio Content Fund.  Each episode will be available to 'Listen Again' after they have been broadcast.

Episode 5

Thursday 23rd March at 9pm, repeated Sunday 26th March at 8pm on Erewash Sound

Episode five starts the penultimate day of a six-day, 320-mile ‘Iron to Iron’ bike ride which saw 17 amateur cyclists follow a route discovering engineering heritage between Meldon Viaduct in Devon and Bennerley Viaduct on the border of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  Tired from their longest day riding yesterday, a more leisurely 50 miles were ahead of them as the home stretch was in sight.

A return to Ironbridge by daylight, the cyclists learned of the engineering significance of this early example of – if not the first – bridge constructed from iron, with a talk led by former chair of English Heritage, Sir Neil Cossans OBE.

With the route heading through Cannock, Forestry England’s Gary Kelsey spoke of the landscaping and protection of the natural habitat, whilst encouraging cyclists to visit and a track featuring as part of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Reflections on the week from the cyclists after arriving for their final overnight stay at Moira in Leicestershire, with bitter-sweet feelings that the ride was due to come to an end after forming close friendships and encouraging each other along when things were getting tough.

Episode 4

Wednesday 22nd March at 9pm, repeated Sunday 26th March at 7pm on Erewash Sound

Episode four marks the half-way stage of the journey of 17 amateur cyclists on their ‘Iron to Iron’ bike ride from Meldon Viaduct in Devon to Bennerley Viaduct on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border over six days.  And if their legs were already feeling it after 160 miles completed, a punishing 80 miles were ahead of them after breakfast.

Setting-off from picturesque Welsh Bicknor, the riders made their first stop in the historic market town of Ledbury in Herefordshire.  They were joined by John Darlington, Executive Director of World Monuments Fund Britain who spoke to Erewash Sound’s Paul about the fund selecting Bennerley Viaduct for support, before John joined the cyclists on the day’s journey to Shropshire.

The riders had their spirit tested and arrived in Coalport both tired and hungry, finding salvation in a chip shop alongside a spot to sit and admire Ironbridge.  They could rest a little easier knowing that the next day’s cycle would be a little more leisurely, getting ever closer to home.

Episode 3

Thursday 16th March at 9pm, repeated Sunday 19th March at 8pm on Erewash Sound

Episode three joins the group of 17 amateur cyclists back in September 2021 on the ‘Iron to Iron’ bike ride from Meldon Viaduct in Devon, heading home to the Bennerley Viaduct astride Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  After the second day’s ride took them into Bristol, it was an early start on the third day for a tour of Bristol’s iconic landmark Clifton Suspension Bridge, before hopping back on the bike to cross the Severn Bridge into Wales.

The riders took a pause for a coffee by the Old Wye Bridge at Chepstow, before crossing the river back into England up to the Forest of Dean.  Chris Bull from Dean Forest Railway welcomed the riders for a tour of their workshops at Norchard, before a specially arranged train took the strain for a short leg to Parkend.

Back on their bikes, the cyclists had another 50 miles under their belt when they arrived for a night’s stay at Welsh Bicknor in Herefordshire.  But the toughest day was still to come, with a daunting 80 miles to cover after breakfast in the morning.

Episode 2

Wednesday 15th March at 9pm, repeated Sunday 19th March at 7pm on Erewash Sound

Episode two continues the journey of 17 amateur cyclists on their ‘Iron to Iron’ bike ride from Meldon Viaduct in Devon to Bennerley Viaduct on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border.  Having reached Taunton on their first day, the group take a gentle start to the second day before encountering a climb of Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.  With the ascent more challenging for some members of the group, there’s also an admission of a little battery-powered assistance to help make the hill feel flatter!

Paul and Lewis from Erewash Sound took the opportunity to sample a local delicacy meeting ‘the big cheese’ John at the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, before re-joining the cyclists navigating their way around the urban bike routes of Bristol to mark the completion of the day’s 50-mile leg of the journey.

The episode concludes with a busy evening touring the docks of Bristol on foot, joined by guests John Scrimshaw CBE and Caroline Lovett from ‘Greenways and Cycle Routes’ charity.

Episode 1

Wednesday 8th March at 9pm, repeated Sunday 12th March at 7pm on Erewash Sound

Episode one marks the start of the inaugural ‘Iron to Iron’ cycle ride back in September 2021 – 17 amateur cyclists were driven from the East Midlands to Devon to start a gruelling six-day and 320-mile journey back home on their bikes.  The route had been designed to connect the two-remaining wrought-iron viaducts in England – starting at Meldon Viaduct near Okehampton in Devon and ending at Bennerley Viaduct near Ilkeston on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border, on a scenic route to gain an insight into the country’s engineering history.

It was all smiles as the cyclists pedalled-away in the sunshine on day one, but would they all arrive home in one piece at the end of the week?  Paul and Lewis from Erewash Sound followed the journey to capture their stories and emotions along the route. 

The episode sees a visit to Meldon Viaduct, meets Tom from Dartmoor Railway Association at Okehampton Station, stops for tea in Taunton before joining the cyclists at the end of the day in Taunton, 60 miles into their journey.