Mam Tor

Mam Tor

Route Information

Stats: 12.4 miles and 2170 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Endless in the Hope Valley, with lots to choose from; a great place to spend a weekend riding. 18 Bikes in Castleton is also a great shop for bits and pieces

Character

A rollicking eight around the Hope Valley. Cave Dale is one of the most technical descents around these parts, so be ready to hang on tight. The route across Mam Tor to Hollins Cross and down to Edale is sublime.


Route

1. Head towards the Shivering Mountain, then fork right towards Treak Cliff Cavern. Pass this on the long northward zig that uses to be the old A625. This was abandoned in 1979 due to landslips and the full effect of these become apparent when you get to the southbound zag. Climb over a post-apocalyptic series of steps up and down.

2. At the top turn right towards the west, and then take the sharp right turn signposted to Barber Booth and Edale to the top of Mam Nick.

3. Turn right on bridleway just after the crest and flank Mam Tor on the north side, bouncing down to Hollin’s Cross.

4. Drop back on your left, descending to the top of Edale.

5. Head left up the valley, bearing left over a small bridge and climbing on tarmac back toward Mam Nick.

6. Where the road dinks left, turn right onto the Chapel Gate public way. This is not the beast it once was so climb steadily on well-graded chippings round the back of Rushop Edge, bearing left where it levels out.

7. Follow the edge, including a short but tricky descent back to the Mam Nick road. Retrace back to the Winnats Road then dink R-L towards Rowter Farm.

8. After a mile, turn left onto the Limestone Way. This starts innocuously enough but funnels into a superb, demanding, loose, blocky descent down Cave Dale. The only way this could be harder would be if besieged defenders were dropping boiling oil from the ruins of Peveril Castle. This makes a fine climax back into Castleton.




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Linnet Clough

Linnet Clough

Route Information

Stats: 12.5 miles and 2050 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

The Little Mill Inn at Rowarth has always looked tempting whenever I’ve been past.

Character

I was introduced to this area by uber-distance-expert Rob Dean when we both worked in Hazel Grove. This was the default after-work excursion, usually fumbling through wintry nights by head torch and bar light. On one very frosty night, Rob managed a particularly graceful ‘off’ by the golf course, continuing to toboggan down the slope for several dozen metres without the aid of a toboggan. It’s a surprisingly varied, scenic, interesting and wild excursion on the fringe of Greater Manchester. Only the short section flanking Lantern Pike is technically in the Peak District National Park, but you won’t let boundary-snobbery get in the way of a good ride, will you?

Start Point: Park considerately in or near Oldknow Road


Route

1. Hurtle (but still considerately) down the Lakes Road.

2. At a fork pictured, go straight on and up the technical climb to Linnet Clough Scout Camp and the golf course.

3. Where it levels out, turn right above a broad sward. Keep to this contouring line until a strategic cross-roads of bridleways.

4. Turn left here and climb, with interest, up to the wooden cross on top of the hill.

5. Take an undulating line westwards down Black Lane. Can be puddlesome after wet weather.

6. Turn right at the end and cross Castle Edge Road for a short but fun rattle down to Mellor Road.

7. Turn right here, but look for an immediate left turning back on yourself on great single-track.

8. Turn right on Briargrove road and swoop down on tarmac before swooping back up, bearing left at the ‘No Through Road’ sign.

9. Climb, with more interest, to gain a high terrace on the east-facing slopes of Lantern Pike. Turn left (i.e. North) and rattle down some superb rocky steps into Rowarth.

10. Swoop through the village to gain the high and Biblical-sounding Shiloh Road.

11. Head south, then turn right into Rush Lane and head west with the church as your beacon, physically if not theologically.

12. Head south on tarmac, crossing the stagger junction by the Devonshire Arms into Gibb Lane, signed to Linnet Clough.

13. Climb back up to the cross and descend technically to the strategic crossroads.

14. Swoop down on loose chippings, turning righ the left to pick up an ultra-swoopy descent by the wood to the railway line.

15. Turn right here and return to the pictured fork.

16. All that remains is the ascent of Lakes Road. One particularly dark and chill night, I laboured up here as if it was Mont Ventoux. It was only when I reached the top, chest heaving, that I found the explanation – both mechs had frozen in high gear.




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Ladybower Loop

Ladybower Loop

Route Information

Stats: 16.4 miles and 2,500 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

The Ladybower Inn is excellent, and there’s also options at the visitor centre at Ladybower; plenty of places to choose in the Dark Peak area too.

Character

An ultra-classic circuit. So good you could do two laps…


Route

We’re going clockwise because the clock is a good role model in this matter, with good road climbs at the start of Hope Brink and Lockerbrook, and some fine descents. And we’re starting at the Ladybower Inn because there’s parking there if you give them some custom and ask nicely; and also because it turns most of the roadwork into a warm-up and finishes with the memorable descent through the heather above Cutthroat Bridge.

1. Head towards the reservoir and turn left at the lights onto the A6013.

2. Take the next right, after the dam.

3. Climb on the C-road to the village of Thornhill, where you swing sharp right to gain a level road to Aston.

4 Drop to a stream crossing through a sunken lane deep in vegetation, turning sharp right.

5. Climb. Climb and climb. The incline is never too onerous and there are fine views up the valley to keep your mind off matters lactic.

6. Attain the narrow ridge (by Peak District standards – don’t expect Sharp Edge) joining Win Hill to the rest of the Peak. Keep to the same northwesterly bearing, past Hope Cross and past the bridleway crossroads.

7. Rollick down to the Woodlands Valley on a stony descent, then zig sharply right at the bottom.

8. Cross the river, then carefully cross the Snake Road (A57) to gain the next climb, initially on tarmac, to Rowlee Farm and Lockerbrook. Head north through the woods for a satisfying descent to the reservoir near Gores Farm.

9. Head south on tarmac, past the Derwent Dam, with an obligatory hum of the Dambusters’ March.

10. Cut down to your left at the incongruous roundabout, skirting the head of Ladybower itself.

11. Shortly after crossing Mill Brook, where the track goes up to Ashes Farm, take a step climb cutting diagonally up to Derwent Edge above a forest.

12. Contour round to Whinstone Lee Tor then turn sharp left (heading East to Cutthroat Bridge)

13. Zag sharply back south-west (parallel to the A57) for a memorable final flourish.




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Hope Valley MTB

Hope Valley MTB

Route Information

Stats: 30 miles and 5200 feet of ascent (an epic day out)

OS Map:

Refreshments

Lots at Hathersage. We’ve suggested parking at the Train Station, this way giving an option to head in on the train with your bike from Sheffield or Manchester. There’s also a pub along the way at Ladybower (The Robin Hood) and the visitor centre at Ladybower where you can get some food and a drink.

Character

This route is a combination of my old local knowledge from back in the day, and our friends at Monkeyspoon.com who ride the area regularly. It’s a full day epic, with steep climbs, fast and technical descents and some great views along the way. Weaving around the Hope Valley, it’s a route to test anyone.

Take care on the Cave Dale descent.


Route

1. From the train station car park head out to the main road and turn left, cycling underneath the railway bridge towards Bakewell on the B6001. Cross the small bridge over the river, then turning right on the lane to Abney and Gt Hucklow.

2. Stone walls and hedgerows climb steadily on this narrow lane before expansive views open up over the Hope Valley. Just before Highlow Hall on the left, a fork off the right leads onto a well-made track descending through trees. Take this as it twists and turns down.

3. At Offerton Hall a gated BW off to the left takes you across moorland towards Shatton Lane. Take this. Exit onto Shatton Lane and turn left onto the gravel track over the moor (BOAT Byway Open All Traffic).

4. This climbs up to the communications mast before descending at speed into the valley. A reassuring BW junction is met along the way but continue straight ahead, keeping the drystone wall on your left. This track eventually exits at Brough onto the B6049. Turn left at the junction.

5. Turn right towards Smalldale at the Samuel Fox Inn. Keep on until you see the a crossroads, and go straight over into Michlow Lane (BW).

6. Exit and turn left on Pindale Lane, away from Hope at this stage, continuing up Dirtlow Rake (OS Map), an excellent gravel track that leads above Castleton. A short distance along, a BW junction is met, signing you downhill through ‘Secret Valley’ to Castleton. Take this track which becomes steep and technical as you descend to Castleton.

7. Once safely down in Castleton, take the back road (Siggate) by turning right and head to Hope village. At the main road turn right, cycling along for a short distance before a hidden lane on the left is signed for ‘Aston only’ – take this. This narrow lane climbs steadily and goes under the railway bridge on its way to Aston.

8. When you see wooden railed fencing to the right and a lane off left opposite, take the lane climbing left to Twitchell Farm. Follow this all the way to Hope Cross across the moorland.

9. At Hope Cross descend through trees to Ladybower on the excellent but sometimes loose and rocky track. Go around the reservoir and along the BW the other side to the Robin Hood Inn. No detailed instructions are necessary here.

10. From the Robin Hood Inn turn right onto the A57 Snake Road, then turning left onto the A6013 towards Bamford and signed to Hathersage. A short distance along this road a junction to the left (New Road, opposite a telephone box) should be taken, climbing through dense tree cover. Trees give way to open moorland views, before a small copse is seen where a BW leads down to Bamford.

11. At Bamford a small crossroads is reached. Turn left into ‘Joan Lane’. This eventually leads to the BW past Nether Hurst and then down again to Hathersage.




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Hayfield to Hope

Hayfield to Hope

Route Information

Stats: 24 miles and 3,750 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Character

This route provides an unforgettable sweep of High Peak goodness, with rolling tracks, great climbs and descents on awesome rocky trails; one to test the best climbers.

Refreshments

The area is full of great places to stay over and to eat. Hope at halfway is a useful spot for either a cafe or the pub!
Start point: The obvious place is the pay and display at the end of the Sett Valley Trail (or you could do some of this as a warm-up).


Route

1. Cross the A624 with all appropriate care and enter the complex warren of streets beyond.

2. Leave Hayfield by passing the wall clock on your right and heaving up Highgate Road.

3. Turn left where shown (A) and take a long track up the side of Mount Famine. This takes you down into Roych Clough and steeply back out. Eventually, you reach tarmac at 091825.

4. Cross the road and drop on tarmac past Rushop Hall.

5. Turn left on the Winnats road and follow that before forking right where shown (B)

6. Keep to this line on a good track until you see quarrying and the long, fast descent of Dirtlow Rake on your left.

7. Go down the road a short distance then drop down sharp right (C) followed by sharp left, into Pindale. Descend this with immense technical interest.

8. Career down into Hope and climb out the other side on the Edale Road. Leave this on the right at a dog-leg over a bridge, to enter Fullwood Stile Lane.

9. Climb up the side of Win Hill, finishing on draggy sand worthy of a beach.

10. At the bridleway crossroads just after Hope Cross, drop off left into Jagger’s Clough. Follow this down to the road.

11. Head up the valley, passing Barber Booth and Upper Booth, following signs for Pennine Way.

12. Take the long, left-leaning rake of Jacob’s Ladder, a tough challenge to climb un-dabbed.

13. Breathe slow; that’s all the climbing done. Swoop down rutted moor into Coldwell Clough. Take the left fork to drop down via the campsite and the Valley Road.





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Cut Gate

Cut Gate

Route Information

Stats: 39 miles (if full loops done. Can be cut short near Ladybower) and 5840 feet of ascent (full loop)

OS Map:

Refreshments

The opportunity exists for a halt at the ‘Ladybower Inn’ on route. Also, a detour to the visitor centre at Ladybower. However, apart from that, take what you need with you.

You can cut this ride short around Ladybower, and it is designed in that way. However, the hardy will want to ride the full route. Back at Langsett it has to be the Bank View Cafe; a well-known cyclist and hiker haunt: https://www.facebook.com/bankviewcafe

Character

I have memories of both hikes and bike rides around these moors throughout my youth. Time to share it with you. Albeit that the hardened mtb riders of the Peaks and beyond, will already know of the classic that is ‘Cut Gate’. Rolling, tight, technical, steep, fast and fun, Cut Gate has it all. It can be a mountainbikeneering trip in poor weather, but when the sun shines, you’d be hard pushed to have a better day out.


Route

1. Parking at Langsett Barn, then head around the reservoir via Midhope Cliff Lane and the dam, before turning right onto the farm road (Joseph Lane), keeping the trees on your right.

2. At Upper Midhope, where a junction of tracks is seen, keep to the right (Thickwoods Lane) where the climb begins as you head for ‘North America!’ Yes, I did say North America – check the Ordnance Survey map! As a wall is reached with a gate, where the main track goes on through, take the rutted bridleway left which climbs along sweet singletrack all the way to Howden Edge and Cut Gate End, some 5 miles into the ride.

3. Drop down the twisting and technical Cranberry Clough towards to infant River Derwent in the valley, before following the rolling track that flows majestically around the Howden Reservoir.

4. The track and subsequent road flows round all the way to the A57 Snake Road, where a short detour will take you to the Ladybower Inn for refreshments. Ignoring the refreshment break, ride over the bridge right, and then turn off the Snake Road (A57) onto the Ladybower Reservoir road.

Follow this for a mile or so until a bridleway on the left (gated in trees) is taken, climbing steeply up to Hagg Side. Stay on the track as it skirts the top of the trees, eventually meeting up with a zig-zag track on the left, which will take you down to the Snake Road again (A57). Cross this road and take the track opposite.

5. Cross the road with care. The gate in the trees opposite is easily seen but can lead you to rush across – don’t. This is a fast road for traffic. This track initially drops you to Hagglee Ford, before climbing gently on the permissive bridleway that skirts around this arm of the reservoir. For a bit of adventure, climb the right hand track up into the trees, then descending back down to the edge of the water, before following the track all the way around to Thornhill.

6. At the old red telephone box at Thornhill, turn right (Thornhill Lane) and climb steadily back to Aston. At Aston, in the midst of this tree lined narrow lane, is a turning on the right to ‘The Dimmings’ self-catering cottages – take this, as it is the bridleway to the Roman Road, which eventually drops you down onto the Ladybower Reservoir Road once more. Turn right.

7. The road delivers you Fairholmes visitor centre, which after 30 miles done, may just be time for a real bite to eat before crossing back over to the return track.

8. Follow the bridleway back around the Howden Reservoir, climbing the technical track at Cranberry Clough, and enjoying the Cut gate track once more. As the track begins its descent towards the track junction at Micleden, from whence we came, a track should be taken straight ahead this time, continuing the descent and crossing Hingcliff Common (OS map, before skirting around Langsett Reservoir and heading back to the car and a well-deserved rest.


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