Peak District Road Cycling will soon get you fit …
This section is dedicated to Peak District road cycling, if you are interested in mountain bike routes please see the section on Peak District mtb routes. We have tried to suggest a good selection but unfortunately the roads of the Peak District are often quite busy since the region receives over 10 million visitors each year. Not for the faint hearted. That being said, if you keep off the obvious main roads there are some fairly quiet back lanes to be had. In the northern part of the Peak, you can find some longer hill climbs whereas in the south Peak District and south Derbyshire it is flatter and any hills tend to be shorter. Over the border in Cheshire, you can access the Cheshire plain which gives plenty of essentially flat cycling, whilst the other way you have Nottinghamshire, which is more undulating. OK, the first ride isn’t really in the Peak District but it gets fairly close …
Cycling the Derwent Valley Heritage Corridor
The Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site.
In 2001 the section of the Derwent Valley from the Silk Mill in Derby to the Masson Mill at Matlock Bath was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Why? Because Richard Arkwright and others established the World’s first successful factory system in the textiles industry. It was not the first, but it was so much more successful than any previous systems. For cyclists also interested in Industrial Archaeology this is a fascinating Derbyshire road cycling route.
You can do the route either way, we describe a variation starting from Derby. The start of the corridor is the Silk Mill which is now a museum of all things industrial related to Derby – there is a full size Rolls Royce aero engine and several floors of exhibits, including interactive exhibits. It is not just a stuffy old ‘don’t touch’ type of museum.
You can then take the cycle path alongside the river Derwent, crossing it for the first time using the old Railway bridge. The cycle path continues through Darley Park and pops out at Darley Abbey Mills. This is a collection of brick built mill buildings that has been transformed into a small industrial estate. There is an annual raft race that crosses the weir that created the mill pond. Don’t cross the river here (unless you come back) unless you want to catch the traffic on the A6. Head out past the rugby club on Haslams Lane and turn left along Alfreton road. There is then a busy biy to the roundabout with the A38 dual carriageway. If you don’t fancy that, you are allowed to cycle on the pavement and there is a pelican crossing that stops the traffic for you to cross the A38.
Continue straight on into Little Eaton taking the first right. This is Duffield road/ Eaton Bank and it takes you, after a couple of miles, to the Bridge Inn. Turn right at the Bridge inn onto Duffield Bank which eventually becomes, after another couple of miles, Makeney road. Where that meets the A6, you find yourself opposite to the mill at Milford. Now a small industrial area, you can see the weirs and the bell that signaled ‘if you are outside and hear this you are late and won’t be paid’.
From here, take Chevin road through to its end, turn right and right again on the Ashbourne road to head in towards Belper. Here you will find Strutts East Mill. This was the world’s first fireproof mill and has been converted into a business centre, restaurant and heritage centre. There are trips into the bowels of the mill which are generally quite interesting. From the mill, we suggest that you go the back way to Cromford, it uses considerably more calories, particularly at the start as you grind up Belper Lane. Turn right at the Bulls Head and continue to grind uphill (the Gorses). Once that flattens out, the rest isn’t too bad! Just keep going stroight on, when you come to the junction by the Malt Shovel pub, Keep straight on and after a while the road starts to pay you back. At a sharp left bent, you will see a road that cuts off to the right, under a bridge. The bridge carries the High Peak Trail. Go under the bridge and, turn right at the end of the road. Whizz carefully down (can one whizz carefully?) to the lights at Cromford. There is a mill pond in Cromford but our target on this Dewent Valley Mills World Heritage Site cycle ride is Cromford Mill wher you can visit the museum, have a guided tour (needs pre-arranging) and have a cake and a cuppa.
The return journey is just to blast back down the A6 back to Derby or to retrace the way you came. Alternatively, you could head back taking in Wirksworth, Carsington reservoir and Kedleston Hall if you have the legs for it!
Disclaimer (probably not really necessary but just in case …)
The Peak District road cycling routes on this site are not definitive route descriptions, they are starting point to give you an idea of what you could do. We recommend that you research the points of interest and plan an exact route for yourself in order to get the most out of it. This description should not be used directly for navigation. It is up to your party to decide whether a route is suitable and appropriate for yourselves 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 howsoever caused.