Bike Garage


Upper Derwent MTB Classic

A fantastic medium distance route that combines climbs, descents and views of two iconic Peak District reservoirs.


This is a great medium-distance mountain bike route in the Peak District that features two significant climbs and descents, taking you around the stunning scenery of Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs.

The ride starts and ends at the Bike Garage, with an option to take a break at the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre cafe, which is located halfway through the 17-mile route. This almost entirely off-road route involves climbing 1,700 ft and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Watch the Upper Derwent MTB Classic video

This route was created by Bike Garage in Bamford, an independent family-owned bike shop offering cycle hire, including e-bikes and full suspension bikes, in the heart of the Peak District.

Trail directions

Step 1

Start at the Bike Garage. Turn right out of the car park. Head to Bamford Rec. Ground. Take left onto Water Lane. Turn right onto Thornhill trail. Go 1 mile to Ladybower Dam. Cross dam towards A6013. Turn left, follow path 1 mile to road by reservoirs. Climb up to Crook Hill Farm on the left side of the road.

Step 2

After the climb to Crook Hill Farm, the bridleway continues through the fields with a few steep climbs for 1.5 miles. You will then arrive at a gate where you should go straight through instead of taking the bridleway on the right. Continue following the bridleway for another half a mile until you reach the top of the Hagg Farm descent. From there, follow the treeline to the right for another half a mile. You will pass the Lockerbrook Farm Outdoor Centre before descending down the first of the two major descents on this ride.

Step 3

This trail has a fun and varied descent of just under a mile, dropping 400ft. It starts off smooth and gradually gets steeper, with some rocks towards the end. Recent drainage work has made the descent even better. Once you reach the road, turn right and follow it to the roundabout, then take the first exit to reach the bottom of the Derwent Dam. Continue on the gravel track for slightly over a mile, then take the trail on the left that goes through the field and up the stone slabs.

Step 4

The climb up to the old buildings is challenging, and reaching them without putting a foot down is quite an achievement. From there, the bridleway climbs a further 370ft over half a mile before leveling off and following the wall line to the right. Take the time to enjoy the stunning views of the reservoirs below. Finally, after a short uphill stretch to the top of Whinstone Lee Tor, it's time to descend down to the Ladybower Inn.

Step 5

Be careful crossing the busy road. Go left after the traffic lights and over the bridge. The route back to the bike garage is gentle along Thornhill trail. This 17-mile route has two main climbs and descents. It's perfect for a challenging fitness experience and can be linked with other routes.

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