Family friendly cycle trails blog

Traffic-free cycle trails in the Peak District and Derbyshire

Perfect for all ages and abilities, these traffic-free cycling routes offer easy and relatively flat-level cycling.

Pretty villages, stunning views, amazing heritage and beautiful wildlife - whether you're out for a gentle pedal or a family bike ride, the Peak District and Derbyshire has an abundance of traffic-free cycle trails. Perfect for all ages and abilities, these routes offer easy and relatively flat-level cycling. Scroll down for some of the Peak District & Derbyshire's best traffic-free routes to inspire your next cycling adventure...

Looking for more inspiration? Download a Cycle Derbyshire Leaflet and a Cycle Derbyshire Map to help you plan your next adventure.

The Manifold Track, Waterhouses

In the peaceful Staffordshire side of the Peak District, the Manifold Track (also known as the Manifold Way) follows the route of the disused Leek and Manifold Light Railway, through the Manifold and Hamps Valleys. Running for 9 miles from Hulme End to Waterhouses near Leek, there's plenty of opportunity to soak up the scenery and look out for local wildlife along the way. Follow our Manifold Trail route.

Don't miss: Make sure you take the time to climb the steps up to Thor's Cave for incredible views of the valley!


The Tissington Trail, Ashbourne

Running between the beautiful market towns of Ashbourne and Buxton, the pretty Tissington Trail was one of the last of the Victorian railways. It supplied milk to London and several quarries were opened along the track sending limestone to the industrial areas. The trail is easily accessible and offers miles of flat, easy-going cycling for all the family to enjoy with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. Cycle hire is available at both ends of the linear trail, at Parsley Hay and Ashbourne.

Don't miss: Visit the quintessentially estate village of Tissington for sightseeing and refreshments and admire Tissington Hall (home to the FitzHerbert family for 600 years!) At the southern end of the trail, follow a 600 metre long tunnel to emerge in the centre of Ashbourne, an historic market town famous for its gingerbread.

The Longdendale Trail, Glossop

It’s hard to believe that freight trains once thundered up and down this peaceful stretch of Peak District countryside – or that it’s haunted. According to locals, ghosts of Roman soldiers have been seen wandering the area – marching straight through hillsides – and there are regular sightings of flashing lights streaking up the valley!
Starting in Hadfield, you get to cruise along smooth dirt track for 6.5 miles all the way up to the Woodhead Tunnel, accompanied the whole way by spectacular moorland scenery. More importantly, though, it’s pretty much flat – or at least you’ll think it is until you turn round to come back. That’s when you get to freewheel gently downhill all the way back!

Don't miss: Recharge your batteries with delicious refreshments from the nearby market town of Glossop.

The High Peak Trail, Cromford to Buxton

The High Peak Trail offers 17.5 miles of traffic free cycling from High Peak Junction near Cromford to Dowlow, six miles south of Buxton. The route follows the former Cromford and High Peak Railway, one of the world's first long-distance railway lines, built between 1825 and 1830. Many important railway buildings and features can still be seen, including High Peak Junction Workshops, Middleton Top Engine House, Hopton Tunnel and Hopton Incline. Cycle hire is available at Middleton Top.

Don't miss: Visit the UNESCO Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site at Cromford to learn about the area's amazing industrial heritage. Near Parsley Hay, pit-stop for pub food at the Royal Oak at Hurdlow or for delicious artisan dairy ice cream at Hope Valley Dairy.


The Monsal Trail, Bakewell

Of all trails in the Peak District and Derbyshire, the Monsal Trail is one of the most famous, so we recommend visiting at quieter times of the year and choosing an alternative destination if the trail is busy on arrival. This beautiful route runs along a section of disused Midland Railway line that once connected Manchester with London. The trail runs for 8.5 miles through numerous well-lit tunnels and across the magnificent Monsal Viaduct, giving cyclists a wonderful view as they pedal by! Don't forget to pause to soak up the views at the famous Headstone Viaduct near Monsal Head.

Don't miss: Cycle hire centres and delicious refreshments can be found at Hassop Station, (at the Bakewell end of the trail) and at Blackwell Mill, (at the northern end of the trail).

Clowne Branch Greenway

This pleasant trail is a newly-developed six and a half mile multi-user trail from Creswell in north east of Derbyshire to the peaceful Poolsbrook Country Park via an old railway line. There are numerous access points, including from Clowne, and plenty of wildlife to see along the way. At the Poolsbrook end is Poolsbrook Country Park where there is a café for a welcome stop before returning along the trail or heading on to the Trans Pennine Trail, Cuckoo Way or the Chesterfield Canal.

Carsington Water, near Wirksworth

Who needs the seaside when you can soak up stunning reservoir views on a gentle 8 mile off-road route around Carsington Water? With scenic landscapes and picturesque woodland, the trail offers a great cycling experience for all the family. There's a 3 mile cycle loop perfect for little legs and an 8-mile loop for those want a little more of a challenge. There's also a large Severn Trent visitors centre, with eateries and a huge playground.
Refreshments and cycle hire can be found at the Carsington Water Visitor and Watersports Centre, subject to refreshments.
Download our Carsington Loop cycle route.

Don't miss: Take a short 1-mile walk out onto Stones Island which offers panoramic views or take a detour through the nearby villages of Carsington and Hopton.


Matlock to Rowsley Cycle Path

Grab your cycle helmets for an adventure from the market town of Matlock to the peaceful village of Rowsley along this quiet cycle path, which is part of the White Peak Loop. The short 5-mile Matlock to Rowsley trail runs along the valley of the River Derwent and largely follows the route of the former Midland Railway. It provides a safe off-road route for walkers, cyclists and is fully accessible including being available for motorised mobility scooters and children’s pushchairs.
The route enjoys great views of the valley and the surrounding hills. It is easy to access from Rowsley (Station Road car park), Darley Dale (Station Road) and Matlock (A6 opposite ARC Leisure).

Don't miss: Look out for the Peak Rail steam train that runs alongside the route, offering heritage railway experiences on selected dates!

The Stockley Trail, near Bolsover

The Stockley Trail is a peaceful two mile trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders in north east Derbyshire. Running parallel to the River Doe Lea from Carr Vale, near Bolsover to Bramley Vale, the trail is a haven for wildlife. At the northern end in Bolsover there is a car park situated off the A632 at the bottom of Bolsover Hill adjacent to the Peter Fidler Nature Reserve which the trail runs through. See the trail up close in this handy video guide.

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