Derbyshire Dales and the High Peak Trail
Peak District Mountain Bike Route Guide
This mountain bike route of 26 miles is set in the Derbyshire Dales, an area of rolling hills and deep valleys in the Peak District. It travels in an anticlockwise direction from the High Peak Trail and takes in a good number of the Dales. As well as stunning scenery there some great descents and hard climbs. Keep an eye on the weather though, if it’s wet it’ll be slippery with mud and the famous White Peak limestone. There is also one section, mentioned in the text, which could flood when the River Wye is high. It hasn't been a problem for me so far though.
1. The ride starts in Sparklow car park on the High Peak Trail, just off the A515, 6.5 miles south east of Buxton (GR128659). Leave the car park using the entrance at the road and turn right to climb to the junction with the A515. Turn left onto the A515 and ride for about 1/2mile to the ‘Bull’i’th’Thorn’ pub on the right. Turn right onto the double track just before the pub and follow it down to a crossroad. Go straight across the junction then follow the track as it bears right and descends to a junction just after some cottages on the left (GR149670).
2. Turn left on the lane then continue straight on past a junction on the left signed to Flagg. At the following T-junction, with the sub-station on the left, turn right to the crossroads a short distance later. Turn right and climb the lane to a four-way junction with some dirt tracks, not long after going over the crest of the hill (GR158685).
3. Turn left and descend the double track to a gate in the bottom of the dip. Go right, through the gate, and descend the grassy trail along the dry stone wall on the right. Go right through a small gate in the wall, directly after a wall coming down from the right hand side of the dale. After the gate turn left and continue following the wall, now on the left, into Deep Dale. The track becomes a tricky slow speed descent needing skill and balance to negotiate the rocks and mud. If it’s wet the stream can join the trail at points making it even more difficult. Near the bottom of Deep Dale follow the track right and climb a short way between the bushes. The track then descends through a tight left hand bend and becomes rocky before reaching a stream, with a fence straight ahead. Turn right and follow the coarse of the stream, keeping to the right, and pick up a vague trail that crosses the field diagonally to a small gate in the opposite right hand corner (GR171703).
4. After the gate turn left and follow the A6 up Taddington Dale. Climb the main road through a number of bends to a junction with a lane on the right, signed to Brushfield, on a left hand bend just after a layby on the left (GR157714). Be careful here as the A6 is pretty busy and there is not much visibility around the bend. Climb the lane through a right hand hairpin and then a left hand bend to Brushfield. Where the lane turns left again go straight on through a gate to the cottages (GR159715).
5. Just after the cottages go straight on through a gate then follow the double track right then left to the next gate. After this gate continue climbing straight on to a tree with entrances into a field on either side. Go into the field on the left and follow the dry stone wall on the right to a gate. Go through the gate and follow the track along the ridge, with views over Monsal Dale on the right. The track soon bears left then right for a fast, rocky descent. At the next junction follow the main trail 90deg left, don't go straight on down the muddy trail. After a flatter section go through a gate and descend steeply again on rocks. At the bottom go straight on across the Monsal Trail and under the bridge then bear right over the river to a junction with a lane in Upperdale (GR177721).
6. Turn left and follow the road through Monsal Dale to Cressbrook. At the junction just after Cressbrook Mill go up the very steep lane ahead on the left (GR173729). The lane bears left and comes to a crossroad. Go straight across and continue climbing to the next junction at the top. Go straight on then bear right to a junction by a church on the right (GR167733). Take the track on the left and descend, with the dry stone wall on the right, to a gate. After the gate follow the grassy trail straight on to the next gate. After the gate turn 90deg left then descend through a right then left hairpin to a gate. After the gate continue straight on to the lane in Litton Mill in the bottom of the Miller’s Dale (GR160730).
7. Turn right and follow the lane for just under 2 miles through the stunning scenery of Miller’s Dale, all the way to the village at the junction with the main road (GR141734). Turn right onto the main road then almost immediately turn left up the steep lane. Not far up the climb turn left onto the track signposted as the Limestone Way. Follow this track as it bears right and climbs to a farm. Go straight on into the farm then at the far side of the yard turn left through a gate. Climb the double track past a track on the left then through a right hand bend and on to a gated junction at the top (GR138745). After the gate turn left and follow the double track to a crossroad junction at a house (GR137752).
8. Turn left and descend the lane through Monk’s Dale. Bear left then right to climb out of the Dale. At the end of the right hand bend go through a gate on the left, signposted for the Pennine Bridleway (GR129752). Climb straight on through the field in the direction of the signpost to a dry stone wall. Turn right at the wall and continue climbing to a gate in the top left hand corner of the field. After the gate climb the muddy and rocky singletrack between the dry stone walls. Near the top of the climb follow the track right. The track then jinks left then right followed by a right then left, through a gate, before descending to a junction with a road in the village of Wormhill (GR122745).
9. Turn right onto the road then almost immediately left into Old Hall Farm. Follow the concrete paving around the left of the farmhouse to a gate. Go straight on through the gate and descend, with the dry stone wall on the right, to the next gate. After the gate continue straight on until there is the choice of two fields ahead. Enter the field on the right and continue straight on, following the dry stone wall on the left, to a gate in the bottom corner of the field. Go through the gate and follow the double track to the lane at the houses (GR111746).
10. Turn left onto the tarmac. After the houses follow the lane as it bears left then right skirting the woods. Ignore the Pennine bridleway tracks at this point, they go in the same direction but are very soft and covered in deep hoof prints. The lane bears right through a farm and comes to a right hand bend directly after, with a gate on the left (GR114729). Turn left and go through the gate for a grassy switchback descent into Chee Dale. Near the bottom go past the Pennine bridleway alternative route on the right and continue on the singletrack as it turns right under the bridge shortly after, then descend to the banks of the River Wye (GR114727). This is the bit that could flood when the river is high. Go straight on to the bridge over the river at the cottages. Go left over the wooden bridge then bear right, past Blackwell Mill cycle hire and café, to follow the dirt lane as it winds through Wye Dale, under the railway bridges. At the end of the trail go through the car park to the A6 (GR103724).
11. Turn right onto the A6 and follow it for roughly ½ mile to a junction with a muddy track on the inside of a left hand bend (GR094725), just after a stone bridge and stone building on the right. Be careful on this junction as it is on a blind bend of a busy main road. If you go under a second railway bridge on the A6 you have gone too far. Climb the trail right then left over the railway bridge for the last difficult climb. At the top bear right into King Sterndale where the track becomes tarmac. Follow the lane out of the village to a junction with a dirt track where the lane turns right (GR092715).
12. Go ahead and slightly left and follow the dirt track to a gate. After the gate go straight on to cut diagonally across the field to a gate in the dry stone wall on the other side. Go through the gate and head in the same direction to cut diagonally across this second field towards the power lines and a small gate in the dry stone wall ahead. After the small gate follow the grassy singletrack along the edge of Deep Dale (a different one) on the left. The track soon descends into the Dale where it becomes rocky. Turn left at the bottom to a gate at the junction of Deep Dale, Back Dale and Horseshoe Dale (GR096707). Go through the gate and turn left then right to climb the wide grassy track along the bottom of Horseshoe Dale. There are little rock sections on the way up to keep things interesting. Near the end the track bears left then right to a farm. Go straight on through the wooden gate and on to the road (GR098698).
13. Turn left and follow the road to a junction on a left hand bend (GR102699). Go straight on to leave the main road and head towards Chelmorton. At the following crossroad go straight on then follow the road as it climbs left then right, past a lane on the left, to a four-way junction at the top (GR119697). Turn right and climb the double track. The track soon flattens off and undulates across the top of the hill to a junction with a lane, after roughly 1 mile. At the junction go left to the junction at the A515 (GR113676).
14. Go across the main road and turn right to follow the Pennine Bridleway on the left of the fence. A short distance later turn left and descend the wide trail to a junction in the bottom of the dip (GR110673). Turn left through the gate and follow the High Peak Trail for 1.5 miles for a gentle down hill spin all the way back to the Sparklow car park to complete the ride.