Cycle Trails

Enjoy Derbyshire Cycling From Knockerdown Cottages Near Carsington Reservoir, Derbyshire

Tissington Trail

The Tissington Trail runs for 13 miles from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay where it is joined by High Peak Junction. The High Peak and Tissington Trails were formerly the Cromford and High Peak and the Ashbourne to Buxton railway lines. You can walk, cycle or ride a horse on the trails all year round. Its free and there are lots of resting points and facilities along the 13 mile track.  

This was one of the last of the Victorian railways – it opened in 1899. It supplied milk to London and several quarries were opened along the track sending limestone to the industrial areas. The Trail was created after the railway closed in 1967. The signal box at Hartington Station has been preserved. You can go inside and see how it worked. At its southern end the Trail goes into a 600 metre long tunnel to emerge in the centre of Ashbourne. 

Ashbourne Cycle Hire Situated at the southern end of the Tissington Trail just outside Ashbourne town centre; it is accessed easily via the A515 from Buxton, the A52 from Derby or the A523/A52 from Leek. Telephone 01335 343156.

Cycling Facilities are available at Knockerdown Cottages, including a bike maintenance station and secure undercover cycling racks. 

Photo credit: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire
Credit: Photo credit: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire

The High Peak Trail

Ramshaw Rocks

The Cromford and High Peak Railway was one of the first railways in the world. It was built between 1825 and 1830 to link the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge (north of Buxton) to the Cromford Canal – a distance of 33 miles. The railway itself was designed like a canal. On the flat sections the wagons were pulled by horses. Large steam powered beam engines in ‘engine houses’ pulled the wagons up the steep ‘inclines’ using cables (on a canal the inclines would have been

At Middleton Top the engine house with its massive beam engine is open for visitors to wonder at (telephone 01629  823204 for details of open days). The railway was adapted over the years but finally closed completely in 1967. The section south of Buxton was then converted to the High Peak Trail, it is 17½ miles long between Dowlow (at the Buxton end – just 6 miles short of the town) and High Peak Junction (close to Cromford). 

Being part of a disused railway line, this makes great off road, traffic free, family friendly cycling, with mostly level compact stone surfaces, offering fabulous views of the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. Middleton Top is located approx. 4 miles from Knockerdown Cottages and if you go all the way to Dowlow near Buxton it is approx. 15 miles. Turn left at the bottom of the driveway and keep going for approx. 4 miles and you will find Middleton Top car park located on the left hand side.

If you do not have your own bikes with you, then the hire of bikes is available here including adult and children’s, bikes with chid seat’s, bikes with tow buggy’s and even electric bikes. Please check for opening times especially in the out of season periods as they have limited opening days and times. Proof of ID will be required along with a security deposit.

Plenty of parking is available (charges apply), toilet facilities, picnic area and a take away coffee shop, serving light refreshments.

Middleton Top, as you can probably imagine by the name is at the top of the hill. Once there though if you take the route to the left then it is mainly flat, which makes it easy cycling with not many inclines, if you make it all the way to Hurdlow, you could refuel at The Royal Oak pub, which serves delicious home cooked food and real ales. 

If you take the route to the right, this will take you to High Peak Junction, its only approx. 2.5 miles but it has very steep hills, so beware. You will find a picnic area, toilets and light refreshments and also visit the Cromford canal.

Parsley Hay Cycle Hire Situated eight miles south of the spa town of Buxton at the junction of the High Peak and Tissington Trails; easily reached via the A515 from both Buxton and Ashbourne. Telephone 01298 84493.

Cycling Facilities are available at Knockerdown Cottages, including a bike maintenance station and secure undercover cycling racks

The Manifold Way

This was the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway. It was built in 1904 to transport dairy products from the valley to the main railway south of Waterhouses. It was a ‘light railway’ because it used much narrower track than the ‘standard gauge’ of mainline railways. The owners also hoped that the old copper mines at Ecton would reopen - but they never did. The railway closed in 1934. One section of the trackbed became a new road to Wetton Mill and the rest became a walking and
cycling route. The old station at Hulme End has been preserved and is now a Visitor Information Centre.

The Manifold Track is a 9 mile tarmac track along a disused railway from Hulme End to Waterhouses. A section between Swainsley and Wetton Mill is used by traffic (single track) and contains a tunnel 100m long at Swainsley; this is illuminated but still quite dark with small passing places to avoid vehicles. 

Manifold Cycle Hire Situated on the Manifold Track at Hulme End; based in the listed former station building in this attractive village, the facility is an ideal place to start exploring the Manifold Valley. Telephone 01298 687399.

Cycling Facilities are available at Knockerdown Cottages, including a bike maintenance station and secure undercover cycling racks. 

Wooden bridge over river

The Monsal Trail

Country lane

The Monsal Trail is a traffic free route for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users through some of the Peak District's most spectacular limestone dales. The trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell.

Most of the route was opened to the public in 1981 but four former railway tunnels had to remain closed due to safety reasons, with public footpaths taking people around them. From 25 May 2011 the four railway tunnels - Headstone Tunnel, Cressbrook Tunnel, Litton Tunnel, Chee Tor Tunnel – will also open for trail users. Each tunnel is about 400 metres long and will be lit during normal daylight hours.

Two shorter tunnels - Chee Tor No.2 and Rusher Cutting – already formed part of the Monsal Trail. The public can now experience the full length of the former railway route at their own pace and see breath taking views at places like Water-cum-Jolly Dale that have remained hidden since the railway closed in 1968.

Hassop Station Cycle Hire Situated at the Bakewell end of Monsal Trail

Blackwell Mill Cycle Hire Situated at the Buxton end of Monsal Trail

For an excellent article on Peak District Cycle Trails read Peak Venues blog article which is an excellent resource for cycling in the Peak District. In particular you can read a great article about the scenic Monsal Trail on 

Cycling Facilities are available at Knockerdown Cottages, including a bike maintenance station and secure undercover cycling racks.

Carsington Water

We are located just a 5 minute cycle ride away from the beautiful Carsington Water, so there is no need to load the car up, you can cycle straight from Knockerdown Cottages. Just go down to the bottom of the driveway and cycle straight across the road, but please be careful as it is not a very nice pull out. Alternatively if you turn right out of the driveway and go up the road approx. 100 yards, you will see a kissing gate on the left hand side, which takes you down a pathway to Carsington Water, which is what we would suggest, especially if you have little ones with you.

If you do not have your own bikes, you can hire them at Carsington Water, they have adults, junior, children’s, wheelchair accessible, bikes with chid seat’s, bikes with tow buggy’s and even electric bikes.

Carsington has a cycle path all the way around the reservoir and if you do the whole loop, it is approx. 8 miles long. It is quite hilly in places, so if you have little ones they may need to get off and push at certain times, it is also quite rocky and muddy in certain places. There are plenty of benches dotted around the route, where you can stop off for a picnic or just catch your breath and have a drink. A bell is a good idea, as there will be a lot of walkers on the path, so you can let them know you are coming. There is also a 3 mile family friendly route, if you are not up for the full 8 miles.

If you fancy a detour off the path, then you can cross over and go into Carsington village, where you will find the Miners Arms pub and restaurant, serving delicious home cooked food and drink. If you prefer to wait until the end of your journey then there is The Mainsail Restaurant serving food and drink with beautiful views overlooking the reservoir, a coffee shop and an ice cream parlour, which is a great incentive for the end of the journey. There is also a large children’s play area, plenty of outdoor seating if you prefer to have your picnic at the end of your ride and a number of shops for you to have a wander around.

Cycling Facilities are available at Knockerdown Cottages, including a bike maintenance station and secure undercover cycling racks.

Carsington water at dusk