General Information about Mountain Biking in The Peak District
The Peaks is split into the north and south, the northern bit we refer to as the Dark Peak, and to the south, the White Peak.
The Dark Peak is characterized by high moorland, bisected by some classic river valleys, the Goyt, Derwent, Edale, Woodhead and Snake to name a few. The riding here can be good all year round. Many routes rely on well drained tracks, rides out of Hope, from Ladybower are superb. In the summer the high moorland of the Dark Peak offers brilliant views, fast slick sandy trails, long do-able yet intimidating climbs and descents. All starting from bike-friendly cafés, and finishing to the aroma of coffee or local real ale.
By contrast the White Peak is all dales and greenery. Less frequented by mountain bikers, the riding is every bit as good, the trails are less rocky, more rooty, but can be very muddy in wet conditions. Where the scenery in the Dark Peak is harsh, here it is idyllic, to such an extent you sometimes feel you’re intruding on forgotten farmsteads, undisturbed wildlife and the odd local.
Start your ride from anywhere in the triangle formed by Bakewell, Carsington Water and Waterhouses and enjoy a circuit of the many fine trails dropping into and out of the small limestone dales, often linked by two of the most popular railway trails in the country, the High Peak and Tissington, passing near or through Parsley Hay, Middleton Top, Hartington and Ashbourne. Or explore the industrial heritage of quarries, railways and mill towns around Matlock and Ashover.
However, for a real treat head to the east of the park and explore the trails and tracks around Linacre Reservoirs, simply superb on a dry sunny summer evening.
Finally the Peak is famous for its hidden nooks and crannies, some known and well documented, some less so. These include the tracks of Sheffield’s Blacka Moor south of Ringinglow where you share the fast technical trails with red deer, the splendour around Macclesfield Forest near Langley, the picturesque Three Shire Heads above Wincle, the hardcore descents around Longnor and Goyt Valley west of Buxton. There is something for everyone.
For trail centre style riding there is Wharncliffe Woods, just north of Sheffield where you will find a cross country loop and some downhill.