Cycling in the Peak District and Derbyshire
Derbyshire and the Peak District have a wonderful range of cycle routes, from level (or very gently sloping) converted railway lines to wild mountain bike routes. And everything in between.
Below you will find sections on different aspects of cycling in Derbyshire and the Peak District:
- Suggested cycle touring and cycling holiday hubs
- Gentle / family bike rides
- Cycle touring
- Waymarked long-distance cycle routes
- Mountain biking / off-road cycle routes
- Cycle-friendly holiday accommodation
- Cycling maps and guide books
There is an excellent range of maps and guide books to help you plan routes and to help you find your way.
Suggested cycle touring and cycling holiday hubs in the Peak District and Derbyshire
The Peak District has all sorts of accommodation available in many parts of the National Park. The following are just three of the towns with good links to great cycling:
- Bakewell, on the Monsal Trail and access to various road and off-road routes
- Ashbourne, close to the Tissington Trail and other routes
- Buxton, with country lanes leading to both of the above trails and excellent longer routes
Gentle / family bike rides in the Peak District and Derbyshire
Sustrans, the Peak District National Park authority and the local authorities have done a wonderful job in creating family-friendly cycle trails from some of the most scenic disused railway lines in the Peak District.
The Monsal Trail
Starting in lovely Bakewell itself, a quiet lane leads to the Monsal Trail, 8.5 miles of traffic-free cycleway. It’s very popular with cyclists of all types, especially families. There are tunnels to cycle through!
There is even a brilliant shop / cafe / bike hire shop part way along, complete with small play area at Hassop Station.
The Tissington Trail
Starting in Ashbourne, the Tissington Trail is a 13-mile cycle trail through Dovedale. It’s not flat, but the gradients were designed for trains, so not major.
Take time to visit Herbert’s Team Rooms at Tissington Hall along the way.
The trail also joins the High Peak cycle trail, yet another former railway line, so you can extend your ride nearly all the way to Cromford, south of Matlock.
The Peak District has a good number of reservoirs serving the cities and towns around the rim of the National Park. Several of them have good cycling by them.
The Ladybower Reservoir is one of the largest of the reservoirs and has a there-and-back route along one side. 7.5 miles long and undulating on first a lane and then a track, the views over the water are magnificent. Perfect for a quiet picnic part way along with the family.
You won’t find this short route in any guide book I have found. It’s a bit of a secret. Ssshhhh!
Just outside Chesterfield are three linked reservoirs. The bottom two have a cycle trail around them through gorgeous woods, probably only 2-3 miles long depending which way you go.
Find the car park at Woodnook Lane, Cutthorpe, S42 7AU. There is no café, but there are toilets and often an ice cream van!
Circular cycle tours in the Peak District and Derbyshire
You can choose your own routes around the National Park using either the Ordnance Survey Tour Map for the Peak District or the Sustrans pocket-sized Peak District map, or of course you can pick routes from the very good cycle guide books to the area. For Derby itself and the immediate area, the Sustrans East Midlands map covers the area.
The Buxton and Bakewell Loop
This is a 30-mile ride from Cicerone’s Cycling in the Peak District book, starting either in Buxton or at Hassop Station near Bakewell.
Mostly on quiet roads, it also includes the Monsal Trail. Highly recommended.
Guide book: Cicerone’s Cycling in the Peak District (including 21 routes on lanes and tracks)
The Chelmorton Loop
This is a 12-mile loop, partly on the High Peak Trail and then on quiet roads through the villages of Chelmorton and Monyash. There are some significant hills here. A good challenge.
(And if you want to go further, start at Ashbourne on the Tissington Trail first, before joining the High Peak Trail.)
Guide book: Cycling in the Peak District – Off-road Trails and Quiet Lanes ( including 18 routes, plus notes on family routes)
Hope, Hathersage and Edale Loop
This is a much longer loop, 44 miles, starting and finishing in Hathersage. It’s clearly marked on the excellent Goldeneye Peak District map.
Significant hills, beautiful villages, the lovely Edale Valley.
Map: Goldeneye Peak District map – Cycling Country Lanes & Traffic-free Family Routes (including 11 suggested routes, but this is a map of the whole area, so you can also design your own routes).
Bakewell and Hartington Loop
A 26-mile cycle route, again from Cicerone’s very good guide book, this is mostly on road and has some juicy hills through lovely countryside.
The ride starts in Bakewell and heads south and west, with part of the route shown for mountain-bikes only and an alternative road-bike route shown.
Guide book: Cicerone’s Cycling in the Peak District
Waymarked long-distance cycle routes in the Peak District and Derbyshire
The Pennine Cycleway South, National Cycle Network Route 68
The Pennine Cycleway starts in Derby and takes quiet lanes as far as Ashbourne. From there it joins the Tissington Trail before a road finish in Buxton. The route then heads to Glossop before crossing into Yorkshire to bypass Huddersfield, leaving our Peak District area.
The Pennine Bridleway
The Pennine Bridleway is designed for mountain bikers and horse riders. It starts at Middleton Top in the south of the region, heading north west. It bypasses Buxton in the hills and heads further north west into Lancashire.
Mountain biking / off-road cycle routes in the Peak District and Derbyshire
The Peak District has of course some great mountain bike routes.
Goldeneye’s ‘Mountain Bike Routes’ map has rides from 10 to 17 miles long, beautifully mapped. Routes include the hills around Bakewell, Eyam, Buxton, Stanage and Edale.
There is also the ‘South Pennines and Peak District Off-Road Cycle Map’ from Excellent Books, designed with long-distance epic routes, day rides and 20 family-friendly off-road rides. It covers the north of the region – Hathersage northwards.
Vertebrate publish two books of off-road and mountain bike routes. Their ‘Cycling in the Peak District – Off-road Trails and Quiet Lanes’ and their ‘White Peak Mountain Biking’. The two books have very different kinds of routes, pretty much doing what they say on the tin.
For tough mountain bike routes, go for the White Peak or for Goldeneye’s map. Or both, of course.
Links to all of the above are below.
Cycle-friendly Holiday Accommodation
This section is still to be completed.
The maps and guide books for cycling in the Peak District and Derbyshire
There is an excellent range of maps and guide books to select from.
Here is a quick preview of some of them:
They are available in the webshop, and you can link to them or put them in your basket below:
Cycling in the Peak District – Off-Road Trails & Quiet LanesProduct on sale
Cycling in the Peak District from CiceroneProduct on sale
Family Cycle Rides in the Peak District£7.99
Peak District and Derbyshire Ordnance Survey Tour Map£4.99
Peak District Goldeneye Cycling MapProduct on sale
Peak District Off-Road Bike RoutesProduct on sale
Pennine Cycleway South Sustrans MapProduct on sale
South Pennines and Peak District Off-road Cycle MapProduct on sale
White Peak Mountain Biking, VertebrateProduct on sale
For walking routes, try the Hikes in Peak District post on the 10 Adventures website.