The Peak District is one of the UK’s most popular national parks, situated between Sheffield and Manchester. It offers stunning scenery and many hidden treasures which are great to discover by bicycle. In this article I’ll write a little about the top 6 trails for cycling.
Here are my top 6 trails for the perfect day of pedalling through some of the Peak District’s best landscapes…
Manifold Track (White Peak)
Enjoy the natural beauty of woodland and Thor’s Cave along the Manifold Valley with 6 miles of track from Waterhouses and 3 miles from Hulme End. The middle section of the route has become the quiet country road to Wetton Mill including Swainsley Tunnel. You can get on the Manifold Track at either end: Hulme End or Waterhouses as well as in the middle from Wetton Mill.
High Peak Trail (White Peak)
Watch out for the murals at Friden brickworks and the old engine house at Middleton Top on the High Peak Trail. This former Cromford and High Peak railway line runs for 17½ miles from High Peak Junction, near Cromford to Dowlow 6 miles south of Buxton. This was a very early railway built between 1825-30. You can get on the High Peak Trail at Hurdlow, Parsley Hay, Friden, Minninglow, Middleton Top, Black Rocks and High Peak Junction.
Tissington Trail (White Peak)
Cycle and discover the rural delights of wildflowers and birdsong along 13 miles of Tissington Trail, once the Ashbourne – Buxton railway line which opened all those years ago in 1899. You can get on the Tissington Trail at Parsley Hay, Hartington Station where you can visit the old signal box, Alsop, Tissington, Thorpe, Mapleton Lane and at Ashbourne (through a 600m tunnel). You can hire a bike from Parsley Hay Ashbourne.
Monsal Trail (White Peak)
The Monsal Trail follows the former Midland Railway Line through the Peak District and a 4 mile section of it can be cycled. From the car park at Bakewell Station you can cycle south for 1 mile to Coombs Road viaduct or north for 3 miles to the closed Headstone tunnel, near Great Longstone. You can also get on the trail at the former station at Hassop. The Monsal Trail continues as a footpath although there are plans to extend the cycle route through to Buxton, reopening four closed tunnels, in 2011.
Longdendale Trail (Dark Peak)
This is a former Manchster to Sheffield railway line converted to a safe, traffic-free trail for everyone, owned and managed by United Utilities. It runs for nearly 7 miles from Hadfield (accessible by train) to the Woodhead Tunnels, before crossing the A628 and climbing a steep moorland track towards the Yorkshire border at Salter’s Brook. You can get onto the Longdendale Trail at Platt Street, Hadfield; Torside Car Park and Woodhead Station. The Longdendale Trail is part of the national coast-to-coast route, the Trans Pennine Trail, which runs from Liverpool to Hull.
Upper Derwent Valley (Dark Peak)
Cycle at the side of the Derwent, Howden and Ladybower reservoirs flanked by beautiful woodland with moorland views. Visit the West Tower of the Derwent Dam for the memorial and museum for the Dambusters 617 squadron. The museum is open most Sundays and Bank Holidays. There is a choice of routes including on quiet roads and off-road, both easy going and more challenging.
Don’t have a bike? No problem! The National Park Authority runs centres to hire bicycles from at Ashbourne, Derwent and Parsley Hay. Call in to any cycle hire centre and meet experienced, friendly staff who will fit you with a bike and give you all the advice you need to pedal away.
Alison promotes ‘Pedal Peak District’ which is run by the Peak District National Park in the UK to help you discover the stunning scenery of the Peak District and the benefits of cycling: http://www.pedalpeakdistrict.co.uk/
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