Cycling in the Peak District
21 routes on lanes and tracks in and around the National Park
By Chiz Dakin
Guide to cycling in and around the Peak District National Park, on road or trail bike. 20 day routes and one multi-day cycle tour of the Peak District. All easily accessible from Sheffield and Manchester with routes starting from charming Derbyshire towns such as Ashbourne, Matlock, Bakewell and Buxton. Includes route profiles and 1:100000 mapping.
SeasonsBest in the drier months - later spring to mid-autumn; difficulty grades and route description all assume dry conditions
CentresMacclesfield, Middlewood, Ashbourne, Waterhouses, Leek, Tideswell, Bamford, Buxton, Whaley Bridge, Marsden, Holmfirth, Penistone
DifficultyRoutes are graded from easy to hard taking account of distance, hills, terrain and A-road riding. While technical mountain-bike skills are not essential, some short sections of easy to moderately-technical off-road may be encountered. For moderate and harder routes, there are road alternatives for all of these off-road sections, and you can choose which option best suits your individual preferences (and bike!) on a section by section basis. Average fitness and reasonable road-confidence is required.
Must SeeA gentle short route around the canals and bridleways of Chesterfield; a moderate ride along Morridge; a tough ascent of the old Mam Tor road then on tracks over Shatton Moor; the 5-day Tour de Peak District
Cycling in the Peak District presents 20 graded day rides in the national park, along with a challenging five-day 250km (155-mile) 'Tour de Peak District'. The circular day rides are centred around Ashbourne, Matlock, Bakewell, Buxton and many other charming Derbyshire towns, while the more challenging Tour de Peak District circumnavigates the National Park. Routes include sections of the Tissington Trail, Monsal Trail and Transpennine Trail, with a focus on quiet lanes, gratifying downhills and not overly technical bridleways, tracks and trails.
The routes are ideal for gravel/adventure bikes (or hybrid/cross), though most can be easily adapted for road bikes. Each ride features step-by-step route description accompanied by 1:100,000 mapping. Overview stats and profiles are provided to aid route selection, along with details of refreshments, parking facilities and cycle hire, and full accommodation listings for the Tour de Peak District. The guide also includes tips for cycling the routes and advice for novices. The scenic Peak District boasts an abundance of country lanes, tracks, towpaths and railway trails that are perfect for two-wheeled exploration.
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Chiz Dakin’s cycle touring adventures almost happened by accident, when after a local photography trip by bike she realised that she’d done 50 miles in a single day with a reasonably heavy load. This led to the disconnected logic that if she could do that once, she was now ready to tackle multi-day cycle touring, and two weeks later set out on the Land’s End to John o’ Groats route.
Since then she’s done several other multi-day trips including a pioneering Welsh coast cycle route (600 miles and 16km of ascent) but still maintains that you don’t need to be seriously fit or fast to enjoy long multi-day routes. (She certainly makes no claim to being either!) She has also recently won an award for her photography.
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