Where: Hope, Derbyshire.
Distance: 18.6 miles.
Ascent: 3,231 ft.
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL1
Parking: There is a pay and display car park in Hope. Also there is free parking on the road opposite the car park if you can get a space?
Overview: This part of the country contains some fantastic trails. Everyone has their favourites and this route includes some of mine. The route is mostly made up of typical rocky Peak District trails and includes some tough ascents and tricky descents. Rideable all year round.
Details: (click on a grid reference to centre the OS map above on that point)
1. (0 miles) SK170834 Leave Hope on Edale Road. Follow this until you cross a bridge over the river. The road turns sharp left immediately after the bridge but you should carry straight on up Fullwood Stile Lane. Follow this to a gate and go through. This is the start of the Roman Road - a rocky but rideable and enjoyable climb. At the top go through the gate and straight on past Hope Cross to another gate. Go through this and up a slight climb to yet another gate at a crossroads of bridleways.
2. (3.1 miles) SK159875 Remember this point. You''ll be back here later. Carry straight on through two gates to the first descent of the ride - a rocky blast down to a lane. Turn right and descend quickly until there is a short steep climb to the A57. Go straight over and up the lane past Rowlee Farm. Go through a gate and follow the track as it snakes up the hill. Go through a gate near the corner of a wood and along to the other end of the wood where several trails meet.
3. (5.6 miles) SK163890 Again. Remember this point. You''ll be back here later. The track that you came up on turns to the left. Follow this down to Lockerbrook Farm then through a gate up a short climb. The next fun descent starts here. At times it is requires pedalling but after a left turn it steepens before eventually bringing you out at a gate (watch out for this!) onto the road around Derwent Reservoir.
4. (8.8 miles) SK166909 Turn right and follow the road to a little roundabout near the visitor centre (good for a food stop). Carry straight on up alongside Ladybower Reservoir. The bridleway you want is on the right after a little car park.
5. (10.2 miles)SK163890 Climb the bridleway steeply at first then more steadily to gates at the top. Go through the gate on the right and follow the grassy, slightly rutted trail alongside the wood to it's end at a gate. You should recognise where you are as you have been here before? You are back at point 3. Turn left and down through a gate to a nice rocky switchback descent. You can use the edges of the track as berms! However be ready with the brakes as there is a gate half way down! At the bottom there is another gate leading to a tarmac descent to the A57. Cross the main road and go through a wooden gate. Descend to a bridge and cross it.
6. (12.9 miles) SK145863 The track turns to the left along the edge of the wood before starting to climb. At the first switchback it starts to get really rocky and from then on gets worse! It's pushing time for most people! Things get more rideable higher up and once you emerge from the wood and go through a gate you should be back on your bike to climb back up to the first crossroads at point 2. Go straight on at the crossroads across your previous path. Just over the brow of the hill a gate leads to a fast and fun descent to a ford through Jaggers Clough and a gate. There is now a short sharp climb up gravel with concrete rain bars across before another gate and fast descent to Clough Farm. A short section of singletrack past the farm takes you to the Edale road.
7. (12.9 miles) SK145863 Turn right onto the road and follow it through Nether Booth to Edale. Just past the car park in Edale turn left into a lane. Just before the end of this a gate on the left leads to the bridleway ascent to Hollins Cross. The climb starts on gravel, turns to grassy ruts/steps and then becomes rocky near the top. It is all rideable but whether it is at this stage of the ride depends on your fitness! You can now admire the view from Hollins Cross.
8. (15.9 miles) SK135844 When you reach Hollins Cross turn left and climb for a few yards. On the right is a less well frequented bridleway down to Castleton. Look for the blue arrow on the gate post. The descent is grassy to start with and loops round to the right to eventually reach some tricky rock steps after you go through a gate. It then joins Hollowford Road which takes you into the village. Turn left onto the A625 and it's about a mile and a half of flat tarmac back to Hope.
Possible extensions: Lots of options. The most obvious is probably to go from Hollins Cross around Mam Tor, along Ruship Edge and then loop back round into Castleton via Perry Dale and Cave Dale (a good technical descent).