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By Spencers Solicitors

  Steven Barke    
  May 20, 2022

The 25 Best Derbyshire Cycling Routes

The Derbyshire countryside has long been accepted as one of God's greatest creations, mixing rolling hills, gritstone cliff edges, expanses of heather, idyllic waterways and dense woodland, to provide a network of cycling routes as diverse, breath-taking and challenging as anywhere in the world.

Linking historic landmarks such as Bakewell, Hathersage and Matlock, we have gathered together 25 of the best cycling routes around the Hope Valley, Peak District and the vast Ladybower reservoir, to bring you a comprehensive list of routes to suit a variety of fitness levels, cycling experience and appetites for adventure!

Starting with the shorter routes and building upwards, don't make the mistake of thinking that the shorter routes are necessarily the easier ones. Derbyshire has some punishing inclines and some treacherous terrains, so read the descriptions carefully before choosing the route for you. But if you prefer road to off-road, or stopping off for a pint in a pretty village to the mud and adrenalin rush of a steep rural trail, there will be something here for you.

Here are the 25 Best Cycling Routes in Derbyshire…

No. Name of route Length of route Ideal for? Info Link
1 White Edge Loop 3 miles Families and novice off-roaders An easy off-road route through the Longshaw Estate, which is perfect for a sunny day and some fresh air Route link
2 Along the Derwent Valley 5 miles Families and novice off-roaders Follow this flat off-road trail from Matlock station and along the disused railway line to Rowsley and back again. Ideal for introducing the young ones to cycling, history and adventure Route link
3 Hassop to Monsal Head 7 miles Budding all-round cyclists Taking in the stunning view at Monsal Head, this is a great trail for budding cyclists wanting to gain experience of road and off-road, with a 70/30 split and not many gradients Route link
4 Bird Hide 7.12 miles Families and novice off-roaders Pretty flat and simple mainly off-road trail along Carsington waters, ideal for the family to undertake when the weather suits Route link
5 Carsington Loop 7.5 miles Families and part-time cyclists Flat and simple, this is an off-road route around Carsington reservoir, with enough scenery and fresh air to blow away the cobwebs Route link
6 Tissington Loop 9 miles Families and novice cyclists Taking in the pubs, shops and cafes of Ashbourne and Tissington, this is half and half road and trail, and a pretty easy route which starts and ends in Ashbourne Route link
7 High Peak Trail 9 miles Experienced hill climbers and anyone wanting to push themselves With a 60/40 road/off-road split this is a challenging route that offers a bit of everything; scenery, history and some difficult hills Route link
8 Hope Valley to Stanage Edge 13 miles King of the mountains road cyclists The stunning landscapes of Stanage Edge stand out here, while you also pass through Bamford on a 100% on-road route which is tough-going even if you like hills Route link
9 Longdendale Trail 13 miles Improving cyclists looking to test themselves An off-road and relatively flat trail along the disused Woodhead railway line, which still offers some stunning views along the way Route link
10 Abney and Eyam Loop 14 miles Improving road cyclists looking to test themselves A lovely and moderately hilly route around Hathersage and Grindleford which is all on-road Route link
11 Stanton Moor Circular 14 miles Fit, experienced road cyclists Experience the unique village of Matlock on this hilly on-road route, which offers some very testing climbs which are rewarded by stunning views over the Wye Valley Route link
12 Ashbourne & Villages 15 miles Fit, experienced road cyclists Lots of countryside and pretty villages here, but starting and ending in Ashbourne, this almost completely on-road route has some difficult hills included Route link
13 Up Hill & Down Dale 15 miles Fit, experienced hill-climbers As the name suggests this is a challenging on-road route around Matlock which takes in some steep gradients and some amazing views Route link
14 The Carsington Loop 17 miles An experienced all-rounder A lovely waterside trail around Carsington Water, which is about a 60/40 split of road and off-road Route link
15 Hope Valley to Great Hucklow 17.5 miles Road cycling enthusiasts Starting and ending in Hathersage, this is a long road route to Castleton and back, with some tough gradients involved also Route link
16 Chatsworth Loop 18 miles Fit, experienced road cyclist Although this route takes in the lovely Chatsworth estate and passes through quintessential Derbyshire villages such as Bakewell, Baslow and Hessop, there are some challenging hills involved Route link
17 Monsal Trail 18 miles Families wanting to cycle off-road This is a simple off-road route on a straight line, so families can go as far as they want and then head back. It is 100% traffic-free but not hilly Route link
18 Limestone Loop 18 miles Fit road-cycling enthusiast A scenic route around Bakewell which takes in plenty of limestone landscape, this is all on-road and has plenty of challenging hills Route link
19 Wheston & Tideswell Loop 20 miles All-round enthusiasts looking to move up a gear There's a great mix of hills, trails and villages on this to challenge all abilities, but it's 65/35 on-road/trail and the length can be a challenge for some Route link
20 Manifold Valley 21 miles Fit, experienced cyclists Starting and ending in Parsley Hay this is a tough, hilly route taking in plenty of typical limestone countryside, and splits road and trail almost 50/50 Route link
21 Ladybower Overflow l 22.9 miles Fit, experienced cyclists Possibly the ultimate test in Derbyshire, presenting hills and distance together, this is mainly off-road and involves heady heights and steep descents Route link
22 Ladybower Overflow ll 26.4 miles Expert all-round cyclists This is one for the experts in terms of a variety of surfaces, some difficult hills and plenty of mileage, but taking in both Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs it is scenic in the extreme Route link
23 Trails Triangle 28 miles Off-road enthusiast Moderately hilly and 80% off-road, but the main challenge here is length. You pass through some lovely pubs and cafes in Carsington, and you might be in need of a break to be honest Route link
24 Ashbourne Tunnel 31.5 miles Fit, experienced cyclists This is 90% off-road but it is all good surfaces to cycle on and with a few hills this is a long and challenging route which involves a bit of everything Route link
25 Winnats Pass 31.7 miles Fit, experienced road cyclists The quintessential tour of the Peak District. This is all on-road and relatively easy to cycle, but the length requires good fitness levels Route link

At Spencers Solicitors, we support the benefits of getting out and about and exploring the local area by cycling, plus we encourage all road users to stay as safe as possible. Enjoying cycling is not without its challenges when riding alongside other vehicles, but hopefully these Derbyshire cycling routes we have compiled will help you to explore some beautiful areas off the beaten track.

Steve Barke

About the author

Steve is our resident cycling expert and solicitor who qualified in 1998 and has over 30 years experience in representing clients throughout the UK who have suffered catastrophic, complex serious injuries including amputations; whole body burns, and long term disabling psychological conditions as a result of serious workplace and road traffic accidents, in particular, catastrophic injuries in the steelworks and factories of South Wales; Kent and the Midlands.

In addition he has been an advocate at inquests representing families of loved ones who have died as a result of accidents. Steve goes that extra mile for clients exhibiting excellent client care.

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