Escape from London and go cycling in the Peak District

Huge open spaces, vivid green valleys and tiny villages. Small meandering rivers and traffic free routes. There is plenty for the eye to feast on in the Peak District. Of course with all the inviting country pubs, the eye is definitely not the only thing that will be feasting. A visit is a must for anyone who enjoys jumping on a bicycle and exploring.

In fact I would say that cycling is the best way to see the Peak District. Not only will you cover more ground but also you are sat in a nice elevated position. You will soon feel bad for walkers who only get to see a small part of the magnificent national park.

Cycling in the peak district. Stopping to take in the view

The Peak District covers 555 square miles of central England. The sites you will see vary wildly depending on which part you visit. If you hit the south you are likely to see plenty of white limestone where as in the north you will see a harsher landscape with moorlands. There are some very interesting rides to try, including the famous Mam Tor.

Cyclists are well catered for with plenty of bike hire shops and routes designed for cycling. There is something for hardcore cyclists all the way to families with younger children.

It is a place to visit all year round, as long as you bring your waterproofs. When I last visited we had a cold morning, then gorgeous sunshine and finally a wet muddy finish to the day. Which was actually very fun! If you do visit in the winter just be aware of the shorter daylight hours and set off early to grab as much daylight as you can.

relaxing in peak districtVisiting from London

The journey from London takes around an hour and a half by train to Derby. From there you can reach many of the destinations in the Peak District. There are of course lots of different stations you can travel to as the Peak District is surrounded by major cities.

Either way I recommend booking a train ticket in advance on something like the Trainline because you will pay more if you just turn up on the day. When I looked I managed to get about 50% off by choosing a ticket a few weeks in advance.

You may also choose to drive there which takes around 3 hours. There is plenty of parking available if you choose to go by car.

If you have travelled all the way from London to the Peak District then I would recommend getting a hotel or bed and breakfast for the night because there is a lot to see and you will feel rushed. Lastminute as always have some pretty good deals.

peak district field by swhVisiting from nearby

If you are lucky enough to live a bit nearer then there are many great day trips to try. I recently went from Birmingham to try out the Tissington Trail and it took just over an hour to drive there.

Tissington Trail

When I asked around this is the one everyone knows. The trail spans 13.5 miles and is completely traffic free. It follows the disused railway line and stops at some really nice small villages along the way.

Bridge on the Tissington TrailIf you want to try this route you just head to Ashbourne, follow the signs to the cycle hire shop and they will give you all the information you need. Make sure you pickup a puncture repair kit off them and brush up on your puncture repair skills. The route is almost completely flat so nice and easy for anyone.

Cycle hire show on the Tissington Trail

When I visited we stopped off at a cafe in Tissington and had some of their amazing food.

Cycle hire from here cost £11 each for the day. Though you can see up to date details on this from the Peak District website.

Ashbourne is a really nice town to stay if you are doing the Tissington Trail.

Reservoir Circuit in Peak District

This route is recommended by my good friend Rob from Real Cycling. It covers the gorgeous Ladybower and Derwert reservoir and is over 19 miles long. It is one of those cycling routes that you absolutely must try one day. Put it on your todo list!

View 33 Mam Tor in a larger map

Mam Tor ruined roadWhile you are there if you fancy a challenge or just want to see something very strange you may want to cycle up Mam Tor from Hope train station. It follows the route of the old A625 which is slowly crumbling away.

It is not the easiest of routes so will not appeal to everyone but if you manage it you will be rewarded with one of the most amazing views of the Peak District.

Rob has a fantastic write up on this route in his book which I highly recommend looking at. It is also available to download as a sample chapter off his site.

While you are in this area you may also want to visit one of the many caverns. The Speedwell Cavern near Castleton is shown below.

Speedwell Cavern in the Peak District, travelling into the cave with water The nearest place to hire a bike is listed on the Peak District website.

For more information..

If you want to find out more about cycling in the Peak District you can head to this site. Alternatively there is some great books out there with cycling routes in the Peak District including Cycling in the Peak District: Off Road Trails and Quiet Lanes which has more relaxed routes rather than tough trails. Rob’s book called 50 Quirky Bike Rides in England and Wales that I mentioned earlier is also available from Amazon.

See also:

Images via: publicenergy, jiruan, swh, saxonfenken, marcus_jb1973, star-one

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2 Responses to Escape from London and go cycling in the Peak District

  1. Kay 06/11/2009 at 12:05 pm #

    This looks great. Have you ever been to the Pete district, thought? It’s fun too.

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