Hayfield – Jacob’s Ladder
Peak District Mountain Bike Route Guide
Hayfield, The Dark Peak
(Requires advanced skills and fitness)
OS Landranger 110
Route Text Download:
Hayfield – Jacob’s Ladder
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Hayfield - Jacob's Ladder Route
This is a mountain bike route of 17.5 miles starts from Hayfield. It is the classic Dark Peak route that takes in the Jacob's Ladder, Rushup Edge and Roych Clough descents. The main climbs are directly to the back of Jacob's Ladder from Hayfield and up to Rushup Edge via Hollins Cross and Mam Tor. Although not exceptionally long the rocky terrain, combined with difficult climbs and steep technical descents, makes this route a tough one.
1. Start from the Visitor Centre car park (GR035869) and head towards Hayfield in the direction of the church. Use the pedestrian crossing to get across the main road. On the far side go straight ahead down the road, with the church on the left, to a junction. Turn left, go over the bridge, then at the second junction directly after turn right. Climb the lane between the houses and go straight on at the next junction a short distance later. Follow the lane through a couple of bends to the top of the climb. After reaching the top of the climb continue along the lane and descend to a junction with a lane on the right that goes over a bridge, just before the Bowden Bridge Quarry car park on the left (GR048869).
2. Turn right over the bridge then follow the lane left on the other side. Bear right along the lane then at the second junction bear right and cross the bridge to continue following the lane. Climb the lane to a forked junction, with a cattle grid on the left and gate on the right (GR053865). Go through the gate on the right and continue climbing. After reaching the top of the climb stay on the tarmac as it bears left, past some tracks on the right, and descend steeply to a gate at the bottom (GR054860).
3. Go through the gate follow the lane ahead as it bears left and starts the long climb to the back of Jacob’s Ladder. At the junction where the lane turns sharply to the right continue straight on up the wide, steep gravel track to a gate (GR058859). The long climb lets you know what to expect straight away by starting with one of the steepest sections. Navigation from this point to the top is simply a case of following the main track straight on. It’s a hard climb with plenty of rocks and two steep rock gardens that mark the start of the last third of the climb, which is the most difficult part. While it is possible to clean the whole thing it will have most walking. After reaching the summit at Edale Cross go straight on down a short, rocky descent to the gate at the top of Jacobs Ladder (GR081861).
4. Time to drop your saddle if you need to. At the junction after the gate go straight on to start the descent of Jacob’s Ladder. Again the trail lets you know what to expect straight away with a rocky drop and loose boulders before it heads down a very steep section of bouldery cobbles. The trail then flattens off a bit and returns to the natural rocks where you can pick up some speed. At the junction halfway down turn hard right to go through a gate. Negotiate the criss-crossing ruts covered in rocks, to a tight left hand bend. After the left hand bend the trail becomes extremely loose and rocky all the way to the gate and stream at the bottom (GR088861).
5. Bear right over the stone bridge and go through the first gate of about three on the wide track that drops into the valley and ends at some farm buildings (GR096855). At the farm go straight ahead on the tarmac. Go through a left/right dip, over a bridge, and up a short climb to a farm at the top. Continue down the lane then bear right and climb to a junction with Upper Booth Farm camp site on the right. Turn left and follow the lane down hill. Go past a car park then under a bridge before the lane finally finishes at a T-junction (GR113847).
6. Turn left onto the road to Edale that immediately bears right. After roughly 1mile, at the bottom of a small dip in the road, turn right down the lane directly before the 30 limit signs at the edge of Edale. If you reach the junction in Edale you've gone too far. Climb the lane into the trees and follow it through a sharp left hand bend. The lane then bears right. Just after the right hand bend take the second track on the left, roughly 30m after the first (GR125845).
7. Turn left and climb the track through the gate. Directly after the gate are tracks leading to the left and right with a grassy bank in front. Take the singletrack on the left that traverses the hill side. After a gate in a drystone wall the trail kicks up and becomes increasingly difficult as it gains height. The trail eventually bears right for the final steep and rocky climb up a wide gritstone track to Hollins Cross (GR136845).
8. Turn right and climb the paved track along the ridge towards Mam Tor. After the second gate follow the natural trail to the right of the paved track. The trail becomes increasingly difficult before bearing right to stay by the fence on the right to traverse the hill side just below the summit of Mam Tor. This track soons descends gently to a gate by the road at Mam Nick (GR125835). Turn left on the road for a short climb over the crest. As the road drops away to the right take the marked bridleway through the gate on the inside of the corner (GR124834).
9. Once through the gate follow the steep gravel track to a split in the trail at the top of the ridge. Take the left hand track to follow the bridleway through a gate and along a grassy singletrack trail that follows the crest of Rushup Edge, which is on the right. It is quite easy going for a while until the next gate where the trail kicks up for a short, sharp climb. At the top keep to the wall on the right and continue following the ridge along a grassy track with numerous small boggy holes. The track descends gently to a gate at the bottom of the field. Go through this gate and the next one in the drystone wall on the right a short distance later. Turn left on the gritstone trail on the other side of the wall and descend to a three-way junction (GR099829).
10. Go straight on and descend the boulders and rock slabs to a gate. After the gate continue descending the loose boulders and slab steps between the grassy banks. The rocks finish at a gate by the main road on the left. Go through the gate and follow the thin gravel track between the wall and the fence to a gated junction a short distance later (GR092825). At the junction turn right and head away from the main road to descend a wide track, that starts with a drop. Descend the rocky track to a tight left hand bend in a dip. After climbing out of the dip the trail bears right and flattens off for a while, before descending to another left hand bend in a dip. Again the trail climbs out of the dip, bears right and flattens off. The track then descends through two gates where some speed can be gained. Be careful, after the second gate there are some big rock steps just after a blind left hand bend, which would be easy to hit going too fast. After the rock steps the track bears right and drops into Roych Clough, with some uneven bouldery cobbles just before a stream crossing at the bottom (GR077837).
11. Climb away from Roych Clough following the wide, steep and loose track through a few bends. After a straight section of the climb the track bears right to a junction just after a gate. Go straight on up the track to the next gate. Go through the gate and continue straight on for the final section of the climb, where the trail becomes rutted and rocky. Just before reaching the top the track bears left over some lumpy bedrock. Go straight over the top and descend a short rock section before traversing the ridge to a gate on the left hand side of Mount Famine (GR056846). Directly after the gate bear right over a bedrock slab then descend the rutted and rocky track that ends at a double gate, making sure not to ride into the drainage ditch just before. At the junction after the gates bear right and descend a wide, straight gravel track. Try not to overshoot the next junction, where the track flattens out slightly and the Pennine Bridleway turns off to the right through a gate (GR050854).
12. Turn right through the gate and follow the thin track between the drystone wall and fence. After the next gate go up a short, rutted climb to a gate on the ridge. Once through the gate descend off to the left on the gravel singletrack. This track soon opens out on a rocky double track that goes through a few tight corners and over some water bars. Again be careful, it is all too easy to gain too much speed on this descent. After a tight left hand bend go straight on down the track to a junction. Don't descend to the right, go straight on to a junction with the previously ridden lane (GR053861).
13. At this junction turn immediately left up the steep gravel track signed posted as the Pennine Bridleway. The track soon flattens and traverses the hillside to a gate in a drystone wall straight ahead at the trees. After the gate go straight on for a rocky and rooty singletrack descent. The track bears left, then right, then left again before flattening off for a fun blast through the trees along the valley. The trail eventually finishes at a gate and a lane by the stream in the bottom of the valley (GR045866).
14. Go straight on along the lane. At the next few junctions go straight ahead, bearing slightly right, until the lane finishes at a junction with the main road going through the centre of Hayfield (GR037868). Turn right and descend past the George Hotel on the left, a good post ride pint option. Continue down the road and turn left directly in front of the church. Go across the A624 using the pedestrian crossing and return to the Visitor Centre car park to complete the ride.