The Peak District of Derbyshire is a great place for mountain biking, some of the best and most challenging routes are to be found in the North West, round Hayfield, New Mills and the 3 Shires Head area, however, there is plenty of other good mtb riding action to be had in every corner of the region

Below, you will find some mtb route suggestions. They are just outlines of some of our favourites, it is recommended that you study them on a map before using them. You need to satisfy yourself that the members of your party are capable of handling the potential hazards.

Mountain biking and cycling books

TOP CHOICES - Vertebrate Graphics White Peak mountain bike routes book or Dark Peak mtb routes

The vertebrate graphics books are by far and away the best mountain bike books I have used. The following mtb and general cycling books are good too ...

The Peak District (AA 40 Pub Walks & Cycle Rides)

Mountain Bike Guide: Quality Routes in the Peak District and Derbyshire

More Cycling Without Traffic: The Midlands and Peak District

Off Beat Cycling and Mountain Biking in the Peak District (Paperback)

Mountain Bike Guide - Derbyshire and the Peak District

Cycle Hire in the Peak District, Derbyshire.

There are several Peak District cycle hire centres for those who wish to cycle and are unable to bring their bikes. Peak Tours also provide Cycle Hire & Delivery to anywhere in the Peak District.

Mountain Bike Challenge events and Races in the Peak District

The British Heart Foundation run the Peak District Mountain Bike Challenge (it used to be known as the Dark Peak Challenge) which is a non-competitive event. But if you think you are in for a pootle around the back lanes and along flat cycle tracks, think again. It takes in some of the most challenging and technical singletrack and doubletrack in the Peak. You need to know what you are doing on this one or it will be a case of taking your bike for a walk! Information can be found via the BHF web site events page.

If competition is your bag, Dark and White organise mountain bike orienteering. They are run under the rules of British Mountain Bike Orienteering and there is a well subscribed winter league and a more laid back summer league (Dark and White say the summer league courses usually start and finish near a pub ... ).

Event Organisers take note ... Werbeatikel Direkt offer personalised sport bottles for business mountain biking events as well as other items.

Peak District mtb routes ...

Derwent Edge and Ladybower reservoir.

Image: Peak District Derbyshire mountain biker Approaching Whinstone Lee overlooking the Derwent and Howden Reservoirs.This is a great mountain bike route which is in places technically demanding and has a stiff climb too. Park at the dam of Ladybower reservoir. Cross the bridge and turn right towards Sheffield. A bridleway leaves the pub car park where it joins the road. A technical ascent brings you out onto moorland. Turn left and follow the bridleway that comes up from the A 57 - this brings you to the top just below Whinstone Lee. Descend from here, keeping a field boundary on your left. The bridleway turns left through a gate and continues downhill to a small ford and farm buildings. It turns left in the midst of these and a cobbled/paved path brings you to the reservoir road. Follow this northwards, past the base of Derwent dam, turning right at the traffic island at Fairholmes. About a mile further, where the road bends to the left, you will find a gated track. Get ready in a low gear! Follow this track to the top and on past Lockerbrook Farm (outdoor centre). About half a mile further you arrive at a crossroads of bridleways. Take the one that goes through a gate and steeply down towards Hagg Farm. Take a short steep section of tarmac to the A57 (steady, it ends at the road very abruptly). Almost immediately opposite is a track that descends steeply to the track that takes you back along the side of Ladybower reservoir back to your staring point. This is not a circuit for novices since there are several steep and technical sections.

Ladybower Enduro - follow this link for an outline of the challenging mountain bike circumnavigation of Ladybower Reservoir

Reservoirs circuit.

A fairly straightforward mountain bike cirumnavigation of the Derwent Valley reservoirs. Park at the southern end of Ladybower reservoir, on the A57 just before the viaduct. Cycle over the viaduct (cycle track on northern side), turn right at the end of this and take the reservoir road. Follow thisImage: Derwent reservoir low on water after a long, hot summer.. the whole way round (about 16 miles). At the very northern end, pass through a gate and continue along the track, if you are not used to riding your mountain bike off tarmac, this next section is a good introduction. Cross the pack horse bridge, a good place to take in the atmosphere of the moorlands, and follow the track back south to your starting point. This route presents few difficulties (although there are 3 inclined sections with loose stones/rough surface which need a little care - though now they have been sanitised) and would probably be suitable for novice off roaders and less confident riders. It is best tackled on a mountain bike but I have seen people using their touring bikes and hybrids. Click here for pictures. Alternatively park at Fairholmes car park at the head of Ladybower Reservoir and do the circuit from there. This also allows you to easily shorten it to about 9 miles by just cycling round Derwent (Click here for pictures) and Howden (click here for pictures) reservoirs. There is a cycle hire centre at Fairholmes.

Dismantled railways.

You don't really need a mountain bike to do the trails as they are generally quite well surfaced. They do hold water so having mudguards helps! The main ones are the High Peak Trail (from High Peak Junction just south of Cromford to Dow Low works, just south of Buxton) has plenty of access points e.g. Black Rocks (Wirksworth), Middleton Top, Parsley Hay (junction with Tissington Trail), Sparklow (excellent real ale pub with good food) and more. The Tissington Trail runs From Ashbourne to Parsley Hay where it joins the High Peak Trail. Tissington is worth a stop for a look round. The scenery from both is excellent with extensive views in all directions. The Manifold Way runs from Waterhouses to Hulme End and passes through the valleys of the river Hamps and Manifold.

Off road and minor road cycling, can be done on touring bikes. Bikes can be hired at Ashbourne, Middleton Top, Hassop, Blackwell Halt Derwent Fairholmes car park, Parsley hay, Waterhouses plus several other centres not directly on these former railway lines.

The Monsal Trail was refurbished in 2011 at a cost of over £2 million. Much of the work was to make safe and open the tunnels in order to make the whole trail continuous. There is cycle hire and refreshments at both ends, our favoured way to do the trail is from the Buxton end to the Bakewell end and back. Starting at Blackwell Halt, you can hire a bike, ride through spectacular scenery which gives way to flatter and more rolling agricultural scenery after the Headstone Tunnel. A short ride from the trail drops you into Bakewell town where you can buy a famed Bakewell Pudding to give you the energy for the ride back. The scenery gets better and better again as you return north to Blackwell Halt where you can get a welcome cuppa at the end of a good day or half day out. The total trail length taking in both directions is a shade under 20 miles.

Stoney Middleton and Eyam.

A good mountain bike circuit for an evening ride. Park at the big layby at the Manchester end of Stoney. Cycle back into the village and turn left opposite the Moon pub. Turn immediately sharp left and steeply upwards, past a farm and along a bridleway, initially across a field then walled into Eyam. Take the road past Mompessonís Well, turning left up the limestone track to the top of Sir William Hill. Collapse in a sweaty heap. Enjoy the view and then the downhill, taking the right hand turn down a track to Nether Bretton and Bretton a few yards after joining a minor road. There is an easy line or a rocky line down this track. Turn right at the pub and descend steeply (and swiftly if you dare) into Foolow, turn left then first right opposite the pub, followed by a right fork to bring you to the A623. Turn right and after a short distance turn left up a minor road. Geologists note the exposure of a reef knoll in the small roadside quarry. Ignore the first left, keep going uphill until you come to a fork, the left hand branch of which is a wide quarry road. It is more or less down hill from here. Follow it round a settling pool from the mineral works, through Rough Side and Coombs Dale back to the A623. Coombs Dale appears to be a bridle path on my map but it is only signposted as a footpath. Turn left back through Stoney and to your starting point. This route would probably be suitable for inexperienced riders, although it is rocky in places. If you are not in a hurry it is not too bad technically. The ascent to the top of William Hill from Eyam is strenuous and the loose surface needs care if you are not used to riding such surfaces. Easily walked if necessary.

Ashford, Monsal Head, Priestcliffe, High Peak Trail, Monyash and Deep Dale, mountain biking in the heart of the White Peak.

Experienced mountin bike riders only, not a circuit for novices. Park at Ashford then head out to Monsal Head via the road otherwise you miss the brilliant descent from Monsal Head pub. At the Pub, take the road left that leads to Cressbrook, but on the bend, a few metres further, go through the gap in the wall and take the bridleway down to rejoin the road. The top section is a series of steps but it is not impossible to ride them if you can handle 30 - 60 cm drop-offs. After the first 50 metres or so, it is a great singletrack (beware of hikers, especially at weekends when it can be busy - easier to take the road in those circumstances). At Upperdale farm, take the track over the river Wye and under the Monsal Trail. Good luck!! If you used the Monsal trail rather than the road, you can join this taxing uphill track at the derelict station. At the T-junction of tracks, turn right, this still requires stamina and skill to get all the way up without a dab. Give yourself a gold star if you make it without getting off - you are an mtb god! Follow the track to the hamlet. Take the right turn, uphill after passing through Brushfield and follow that to Priestcliffe. Continue straight through and at the crossroads, go straight on. Cross the A6 (care - busy and fast traffic) to follow the track that passes the left side of the Waterloo pub. Where that reaches the road, turn right and then left soon after (Green Lane) - turn right at the end of Green Lane and follow the road (some fast traffic) to a crossroads. Turn Left there (Highstool Lane). Good views. Bear left where it meets the minor road then cross the A515 Buxton to Ashbourne rd. The pennine bridleway keeps you off that. Turn left at the obvious track and pick up the northern end of the High Peak Trail. Whizz down that to Sparklow (good real ale pub, probably still does good food too). Leave it and head back up the hill to the A515. Left along that for a few hundred metres and take the track immediately before the Bull-i-the-Thorn pub. Whizz down that too. Where you reach a sort of open area where several tracks meet, go straight over and turn right. That track brings you to a road. turn right at a T-junction, right at a crossroads and keep your eyes open for Wheal Lane. Where that bottoms out and heads off uphill, pass through the gate into Deep Dale. Interesting in a glutinous and sliipery way in the wet! Near the bottom, the Bridleway cuts off left at an angle, up a short rise, before a short but technical gnarly section brings you to a wall and stile. Either cross that and push your bike to the car park or follow the bridleway down to the left, not crossing the wall. Then blast back along the A6 to Ashford.

High Peak trail and Carsington reservoir.

Start at Middleton Top near to Middleton-by-Wirksworth. Turn left along the trail and follow this for about 3.5 miles. Leave the trail and turn left along the road. At a right hand bend, pick up a bridleway (there is some grass riding and beware of the gates - churned up by cattle and rather bumpy with exposed rocks) past Rainster rocks to Pasture lane and descend through Bradbourne to the main road. Turn left along the road and take an obvious steep and stony track uphill round Wigber Low and Standlow farm to the Wirksworth road. From this, take a right turn to Carsington reservoir, cross the dam and join the track that skirts the reservoir on its Eastern side. This is surprisingly hard work! Cross the main road and take the short track into Hopton. Take the road on the right just after leaving the village and grind your way back uphill. Turn right at the crossroads and continue uphill to the skyline where you will find a track which rejoins the High Peak Trail. Turn left along the trail back to Middleton Top. If you are feeling fit, you could start at the High Peak Junction instead of Middleton Top (big climb x 2 to get to Middleton Top). There are no particular difficulties with this route, the stony uphill track after Bradbourne can be easily walked if necessary. Perhaps not suitable for a complete novice.

Castleton, Mam Tor, Edale and Cave Dale - classic Peak District mountain biking.

Park on the old main road just outside of Castleton. Take the main road past Treak Cliff Cavern and follow it through the area where the landslips have destroyed it up to the Blue John Cavern. A bit of a grind up but great views of the Hope Valley. Turn right up the main road and turn up the Edale road a few hundred metres further uphill on the right. Take the gate on the left befor the summit to begin the first of the off road sections. This takes you to Rushup Edge, the bridleway takes a gate on the left before the edge itself is reached. The climb eventually eases off and even starts to head down hill. You eventually reach a gate in the wall at the point that the footpath and bridleway combine. Follow this downhill (rocky in places) to an obvious meeting of tracks. Take the right hand track back towards the Edale valley and enjoy the rocky and technical downhill section to rejoin the road above Edale. Continue past Edale and take a minor road to Back Tor Farm just before the railway crosses the road. The bridleway then climbs up to Hollins Cross and is a pretty tough proposition to ride the whole way as it is technical and steep after the initial easy section - get the line wrong and all is lost! At Hollins Cross follow the 'M1' towards Mam Tor, eventually (and thankfully) the bridleway and pedestrian motorway part company, back onto decent off road terrain, albeit uphill. A shortish downhill and you reach the Edale road. Turn left and continue up to the 'Col de Mam Tor' then overtake all of the cars that went past you on the main road. If you manage to stop in time, turn left at the main road and head off in the direction of Winnats Pass. Ignore the turn to Winnats pass and follow the main road for a few hundred yards. Take the track on the left through a metal gate towards the caravan site, follow this to just after where it turns sharply left. The bridleway to one of the many technical and awesome Peak District descents leaves the track 50 metres further on (left). It seems pretty tame at first but as you pas through a narrow gate in sight of Peveril Castle, the track suddenly steepens. I have to confess that I have to carry the bike at various points after this. Bold riders with good technical skills will ride the whole way to Castleton. Find your own way back to the car from here! Only about 14 miles but excellent value.

Image: Enjoying the off-road trail bike and 4x4 ruts cut into the Peak District paths and bridleways. Kinder Scout in the background.

Please respect wildlife, walkers and horses

Disclaimer (probably not really necessary but just in case ...).

These routes are suggestions only and should not be used in this form for navigation. It is up to your party to decide whether a route is suitable or not and to make sure that you are properly equipped. Navigation is also the responsibility of your party. We cannot accept any liability for injuries or other mishaps.

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