Off-road mtb Circuit – Derwent Edge and Ladybower Reservoir

A fine off-road mtb circuit for experienced riders …

For experienced riders, this is a great off-road mtb circuit which is eminently rideable in the dry. In the wet, it can be a little tricky and it helps if you have grippy mud tyres.

Park at the Bridge End car park (roadside parking rather than a formal car park) on A57 Snake Pass road and on the road from the dam on the Bamford road. The best parking for this route is on the Sheffield side of the Ashopton Viaduct of Ladybower Reservoir.If you are using GPS, Satnav or whatever instead of a proper map to get here, I think that the postcode S33 0AZ  should get you reasonably close but I make no guarantees (I don’t have a satnav and have not tried it).

Cross the road carefully as if you are taking the Reservoir track. But turn right up the access road before you reach the reservoir track gate. The tarmac soon gives way to the off-road mtb circuit. Passing through a gate, you find yourself on singletrack. This follows a wall, above the A57 heading back towards Sheffield. This excellent section drops you at the pub. A bridleway leaves the pub car park where it joins the road. A loose rocky technical ascent brings you into a stretch of woodland at the end of which is a stream crossing and gate. This drops you out onto open moorland typical of the Dark Peak. Continue along the bridleway to the Cutthroat Bridge access point. Turn left just before you fall off a mini-cliff onto the Cutthroat Bridge path and follow the bridleway that comes up from the A 57 – this leads you steadily back towards the reservoirs and takes you onto the col below Whinstone Lee Tor. It is worth pausing a while here to take in the views over the Dark Peak and the reservoirs.


Descend from here, keeping a field boundary on your left. Nice singletrack. Keep the boundary on your left as the bridleway sweeps right and then sharp left. The bridleway turns left through a gate and continues downhill to a small ford and farm buildings. The last section is the most technical. It turns left in the midst of these and a cobbled/paved (horrendously slippery in wet/wintery weather) path brings you to the reservoir road. Follow this northwards, past the base of Derwent dam, turning right at the traffic island at Fairholmes. About a mile further, where the road bends to the left and drops downhill a little, you will find a gated track. This is the most taxing section of this off-road mtb circuit. Get ready in a low gear! Oh, and watch out for the idiot mountain bikers who believe that they have the right to just blast downhill without showing any respect for other users.

Follow this track to the top and on past Lockerbrook Farm (outdoor centre). About half a mile further you arrive at a crossroads of bridleways.

Trail Bike Damage in the Peak District
Mountain biking above Ladybower reservoir

Take the one that goes through a gate and steeply down towards Hagg Farm. Take a short steep section of tarmac to the A57 (steady, the latter arrives very abruptly!). Almost immediately opposite is a track that descends steeply to the track that takes you back along the side of Ladybower reservoir and over the dam (please respect the notices to walk your bike across – walking also means that it is easier to dodge the dog shit and avoids getting a faceful) and head back along the cycleway back to your staring point.

This is definitely not a circuit for novices since there are several technical sections.

Disclaimer (probably not really necessary but just in case …).

This route is a suggestion only and should not be used in this form for navigation. It is up to your party to decide whether a route is suitable or not and to make sure that you are properly equipped. Navigation is also the responsibility of your party. We cannot accept any liability for injuries or other mishaps.