few interesting and challenging trails along the way.
Distance: 27.2km (16.9 miles).
Climbing: 810m (2,657ft).
Time: 1hr 30mins to 3hrs.
The Peak District is split into White and Dark areas. The Dark Peak, aka High Peak, has millstone grit covering the underlying limestone, which gets saturated in the wet. The steep, rocky terrain provides lots of technical riding and amazing scenery, but is hard on body and bike.
The Ladybower Inn (grid ref SK 205/865, postcode S33 0AX).
The route starts just off the A57, which runs between Sheffield and Manchester. Check you’re OK to park at the Ladybower Inn if you’re not staying the night there. Otherwise, there’s layby parking on the A57 a bit further down, by the reservoir.
Maps & books
Ordnance Survey Landranger 110: Sheffield & Huddersfield.
Dark Peak Mountain Biking: True Grit Trails by Paul Evans and Jon Barton (Vertebrate Publishing).
The Ladybower Inn offers good accommodation and food (01433 651241, www.ladybower-inn.co.uk). There’s a cafe at Fairholmes, just off the route, if you need refuelling along the way. 18 Bikes in Hope is very good (01433 621111, www.18bikes.co.uk) and you can hire bikes from the Fairholmes visitor centre (01433 651261, www.peakdistrict.gov.uk).
Cross the road to go up a rocky bridleway to the right of the pub. Then turn left, back on yourself. Follow this bridleway uphill, then drop down to join a track past some houses. Take a sharp left on the tarmac, down to the A57.
Turn right on the cycle path alongside the A57. Cross the water, then turn right on a road signposted to ‘Derwent Valley Dams’. After 0.6km, bear left up a driveway by a B&B sign and climb to Crookhill Farm. Once through the farm, turn right on the bridleway.
Climb up the hillside, then beside a wood, where the trail flattens out. Eventually, go through a gate onto a good track and then turn right up to another good track.
Follow this track down, past the Lockerbrook Outdoor Centre, through a gate and up a rocky track. Stay on this track, which becomes a long downhill with technical rocky sections.
At the bottom, turn left on the road and follow it around the reservoir. When the road ends, keep ahead on the track. Follow it over a bridge and then turn right, back alongside the reservoir. Follow this track all the way to the tarmac road.
Keep ahead on the road, which becomes a rough track further on. Stay alongside the water until you emerge at the bottom of the tarmac descent from earlier. Turn left, uphill, and then retrace your steps back down the rocky path to the pub.
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Routes produced in association with Rough Ride Guide
MBUK Big Ride images by Russell Burton