Longdendale Trail


Longdendale Trail

Cycle along a scenic former railway line that once ran between Manchester and Sheffield, passing idyllic reservoirs along the way.


The Longdendale Trail is a 6.5 mile (10.4km) traffic-free route that runs along the former, now disused, Woodhead railway track that once connected Manchester and Sheffield. It is ideal for walking, horse riding and cycling. The trail is also suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

It is situated in the Peak District's dramatic Upper Longdendale Valley, just a short drive from the historic market town of 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.

The trails runs from Woodhead Tunnels - a series of three railway tunnels - to Hadfield. The trail passes numerous reservoirs including the scenic Torside Reservoir, which used to power local cotton and paper mills, but now supplies nearly a quarter of the water used in Greater Manchester.

The Longdendale Trail forms part of the longer Trans Pennine Trail that runs from coast to coast across the UK.

As you cycle or walk, you can also discover the rich railway heritage of this historic valley, and look out for wildlife on the route including foxes and the rare blue mountain hare on the moors. Listen for grouse and curlew, or the drumming of woodpeckers in the trees.

Car parks for the Longdendale Trail are located at Crowden and Torside, with the latter also boasting a pretty picnic area and information point. There is a campsite at Crowden. You can also access the trail at Platt Street, Hadfield, Torside Car Park and Woodhead Station.

The route is particularly friendly for families of all ages and the surface is good for the majority of the year.

If you’re feeling thirsty, you can refresh and recharge in the nearby town of Glossop, which has a great choice of places to eat and drink.

Trail directions

Step 1

Start the route at the Torside information centre where there is a large car park and toilets. At peak times, there is a refreshment point in operation here. To join the Trail leave the car park in its top left-hand corner and proceed uphill through the memorial area. When you reach the Trail turn left (east) and proceed towards Woodhead Tunnels. You will need to cross over a small car park (which could be used as an access point to the Trail). Pause to enjoy the spectacular views of the Woodhead Reservoir.

Step 2

When you arrive at the tunnels, you can see the layout of the old station before turning round and heading back towards Torside. There is little danger of getting lost because the Trail is almost single track to Hadfield.

Step 3

Along the way, you will pass the Torside Reservoir, Rhodeswood Reservoir, Valehouse Reservoir and Bottoms which all add to the spectacular views. After passing Torside reservoir, you will eventually need to cross the B6105 Glossop road at the Torside crossing to continue the journey down the Longdendale valley.

Step 4

On reaching Hadfield, you can leave the Trail and go on into the village where there are toilet facilites, shops and a café. The trail ends conveniently close to Hadfield train station at its western end. The station is on the Manchester-Glossop Line. There is also a public car park near here at a postcode of SK13 1DW.

Complete your bike ride by following the route in reverse.

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