Where: Edale, Derbyshire.
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL1
Parking: There is a large pay and display car park in Edale.
Overview: A classic loop containing the "must do" trails of Rushup Edge, Roych Clough and Jacob's Ladder. Don't let the distance make you think this is an easy route! There is a lot of climbing on it. The terrain is typical Peak District and is ridable all year round though some sections can be boggy in wet conditions..
Details: (click on a grid reference to centre the OS map above on that point)
1. (0 miles) SK123852 Turn right out of the car park then take the first lane on the left. Just before the end of this a gate on the left leads to the bridleway ascent to Hollins Cross. The climb goes through several gates. It starts on gravel, turns to grassy ruts/steps and then becomes steeper and rocky near the top. At Hollins Cross turn right and follow the paved bridleway along the ridge. At the second gate the bridleway goes to the right and the paved path straight on over Mam Tor. Follow the bridleway around to the road.
2. (2.2 miles) SK125835 Turn left onto the road and go up over the crest. As you begin to drop down the other side there is a gate to a steep bridleway on the right. This is Rushup Edge and the first section now has a graded surface. Once the bridleway levels off beware wheel swallowing bogs! After the third gate go through the gate on your right and turn left. This is where the bridleway joins the footpath and the fun begins. The ground is now rocky and descending slightly and so obviously best taken at speed! After the Chapel Gate track joins from the right things get even rockier and through the gate sections of the trail feature brilliant rock steps to go down. At the end there is a short narrow trail beside the wall next to the road.
3. (4.5 miles) SK091824 Turn right onto the wide track. This descends a little then goes through several gates before a fun descent down to Roych Clough. It's then climbing all the way to Mount Famine with a nice rock section to finish. Descend down through a gate to a double gate at a junction with a gravel track. Route finding should not be a problem along this section!
4. (7.9 miles) SK052849 Turn right onto the track and descend for about a quarter of a mile. Be ready with the brakes for the right turn signposted "Pennine Bridleway". The bridleway goes across a field to a gate at the top of the descent to Coldwell Clough. The bridleway descent is obvious from here and after some some water bars it takes the left fork which leads to a gate.
5. (9.1 miles) SK052864 Through the gate go straight on and then descend to Hayfield. When you meet tarmac follow the road straight on along side the river. At the end of the road turn right. Just down the hill are a pub, shop and chippy to cater for any appetite you have worked up. Go past these and over the bridge before turning right into Bank Street then right again. Climb up the road until you see the sign for Snake Path on your left.
6. (10.4 miles) SK040868 Climb Snake Path, steeply at first, then less so as it crosses several fields to middle Moor. Just before the white shooting cabin there is a junction with another bridleway. Turn right then right again at the wooden signpost. Descend to a gap in a wall. Go through this descending towards the reservoir to another wall. Turn right and descend on cobbles. Beware! They are slippy when wet and there is a gate hidden around the corner at the bottom.
7. (12 miles) SK052880 Cross the reservoir road and take the bridleway opposite across a bridge and up a steep climb to a road. Cross the road and enter the field through the gate. Follow the tractor wheel trail up. In the second field the ruts are pretty deep. Once these reach a semi broken dry stone wall on the left the angle eases and the trail goes leftwards to a gap in a fence/wall. Riding across another field brings you to a gate in a wall. Go through this and turn right following the wall to where it turns right. Turn right with the wall and then go straight on to a gate. The trail is pretty obvious down to it's junction with Oaken Clough but does fork to form a footpath going left before the junction. Be careful not to end up on this.
8. (13.8 miles) SK066860 Turn left onto Oaken Clough. This is the last climb of the ride and follows the obvious very rocky trail. At the summit carry straight on down to a gate. Through this lies the start of the excellent Jacob's Ladder descent. The first section is fast up to a step into the steepest section. After this things remain rocky but less steep down to a gate on the right. Here the footpath goes left and the bridleway goes right. Follow the bridleway down to the bridge at the bottom.
9. (15.4 miles) SK088861 Over the bridge (or through the ford to the left) a fast blast down fire road type terrain turns to tarmac after Lee Farm. Follow the road down to Barber Booth. Turn left here to head back along the road to Edale.
Possible extensions: The most obvious is to extend the route out beyond Hayfield to Rowarth and then back across Middle Moor but there are plenty of other options.