Where: Ladybower Reservoir, Derbyshire.
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL1
Parking: There are several free car parks along the edge of the reservoir. There is also a car park at Fairholmes visitor centre.
Overview: A true Peak District epic. Cut Gate Path is a classic trail on it's own and makes a fine out and back ride. However this route turns it into the finale of a testing loop. This ride takes you across some remote and exposed countryside. Unlike a lot of Peak trails these (and this route) are probably best saved for good weather. Sections of both the "Gates" get very boggy in wet conditions.
symbols on the map to view photographs of the route)
(click on a grid reference to centre the OS map above on that point)
1. (0 miles) SK173889 Head up the road until you come to a cattle
grid and a car park on the right. Take the bridleway on the right. The
first section of this climb is the trickiest but you've no excuse for
not cleaning it as you are fresh! At the top of the climb go right through
the gate and follow obvious ruts along the edge of the field to a gate.
Go through the gate and drop left to another gate. This is a fun descent
but try to persuade someone to go ahead and open the gate half way down!
At the bottom follow the tarmac lane down to the junction with the A57.
2. (2 miles) SK161886 Turn right onto the A57. Unfortunately you now need to climb for five and a half miles on this busy road. The entrance to Doctor's Gate is on your right before the summit of Snake Pass and has a sign to identify it.
3. (7.7 miles) SK095929 Follow the obvious Doctor's Gate path. Initially you need to climb a little and then things level off for a short while before the descent begins. This trail has a bit of everything! Steep rocky sections, flowing singletrack, boggy sections, dangerous sections etc, etc. Some of it will have you grinning and some of it is unridable! The last section is fire road which brings you out at a gate and a junction. The bridleway is signposted. Follow it straight on to it's end at a turning area in the corner of an industrial estate.
4. (11.3 miles) SK045948 Go straight on to a T-junction. Turn right
and go up past the church. The road loops round left past this. Follow
it to another T-junction and turn right onto Woodhead Road. Climb the
hill and take the first left into Cemetery Road. Over the brow of the
hill there is a staggered junction. Turn sharp left into North Road
then immediately right. Again go immediately right onto a singletrack
trail. This soon begins to descend into a wood which provides fun swooping
singletrack. Stay close to the edge of the wood until you emerge on
a gravel road. Turn right onto this and descend down through a park.
Turn left onto Park Road, go over the railway bridge and turn right
into Railway Street. At the railway station turn right and follow the
road round to the start of the Trans Pennine Trail / Longendale Trail.
5. (14 miles) SK026962 Follow the easy cycle trail for 6 miles until
you come to Woodhead Tunnel. Exit up a gravel drive to the right and
then switch back left to climb up above the tunnel following signs for
the TPT East. Cross the road and finish the short sharp climb at a T-junction
with a double track. Turn right onto this and follow it until it crosses
the A628. Cross the busy road and continue following the trail until
it turns left and meets the road again. Turn right onto the A628 and
dodge the traffic for about a mile.
6. (23.2 miles) SE155001 Go to the gate for the first bridleway on the left
but don't go through it. Instead turn right along the
fence line to another gate. Follow the bridleway along side the snow
breaks until it joins the Snow Road. Get in a rut! See how fast you
dare go down to meet (yet again) the A628 opposite a pub. Turn left
onto the road and carefully get off it after a couple of hundred yards
onto the bridleway on your right. Through a gate descend until the bridlway
goes left through another gate and a footpath carries straight on. Take
the bridleway. Follow this to a T-junction. Turn left and then as the
trail sweeps right follow the sign post, turning left and going through
a gate. Follow this bridleway through the trees to another junction.
Turn right and follow the bridleway until you descend to cross a bridge
over a stream.
7. (26.5 miles) SE198005 This is the start of Cut Gate Path. Go through
the gate on the other side of the bridge and follow the trail to your
left. Climb up a rock paved section before continuing on the obvious
trail across Hingcliff Common. Route finding should be obvious on this
classic bit of singletrack as you climb over the moor and then descend
back towards the reservoirs.
8. (30.9 miles) SK170953 At the end of Cut Gate Path follow the obvious fire road along the edge of the reservoirs. Eventually it turns to tarmac and comes to a T-junction. Turn right and go down underneath the dam, past the visitor centre and then left up the road back to the start of the route.
Possible extensions: Can be extended into a 50 or 60 mile silly
route by using the trails around the Hope area!