This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Cycle Network. Here, cycling guidebook author Wendy Johnson continues her exploration of some of Derbyshire’s best-loved walking and cycling trails.
Tackling the High Peak Trail
The trail is 17.5 miles between High Peak Junction and Dowlow near Buxton. Two steep inclines occur at the eastern end but can be avoided by starting at Middleton Top engine house and ending at Parsley Hay cycle hire for a gentler 11.5-mile ride.
Either way, you’ll enjoy the staggering scenery of the Peak District’s limestone landscape as you ride. From Middleton Top follow signs for Route 54 of the National Cycle Network, soon entering Hopton Tunnel then tackling the Hopton Incline. There’s a good chance to rest and take in the beautiful views at Hopton Top picnic spot, a former station of the railway line.
Soon you’ll reach the jagged limestone lumps of Harborough rocks and caves as the countryside grows evermore wild and remote, speckled with grazing sheep, wildflowers and bird life. Look out for the remains of an old limekiln and ride over the top of the impressive Minninglow Embankment, a vast stone structure spanning the valley bottom.
In the final miles you’ll pass Friden brickworks and ride through Newhaven Tunnel to join up with one end of the Tissington Trail, another popular traffic-free route across the Peak District. Continue onwards to end at Parsley Hay cycle hire centre and enjoy a cuppa from the café as you soak up the long views across the White Peak.
Middleton Top cycle hire centre (01629) 823204 or Parsley Hay cycle hire centre (01298) 84493
At the Hopton Incline you could choose to leave the High Peak Trail and follow signs for route 547 along the road to Carsington Water visitor centre, where you can take the 8-mile circular traffic-free trail around the reservoir.
Middleton Top operating days
It’s worth riding the trail when the beam engine at Middleton Top is in operation. This year the dates are 5th and 26th July, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th and 31st August and 4th October
Support the trail
If you’d like to join the Sustrans volunteer ranger team that makes sure the National Cycle Network is signposted on this and other trails around the White Peak, please contact the team’s leader Clyde Hinton firstname.lastname@example.org.
White Peak Cycle Routes
The Tissington and High Peak Trails are owned and looked after by the Peak District National Park Authority, www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/cycling.
Middleton Top engine house and the trail to Cromford Canal are looked after by Derbyshire County Council, www.derbyshire.gov.uk
Some of the content provided in this article has been sourced from http://www.derbyshirelife.co.uk