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Tissington And The High Peak Trails

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Summary Distance: 26 miles 40 km
Time: 4-5 hrs

Introduction

This is a pretty long circuit through the heart of the limestone country known as the White Peak, but the riding is quite easy, on good tracks or quiet roads almost all the way. There are lovely views and good places for refreshment along the way.

Instructions

The course begins at Parsley Hey, at the National Park's cycle hire centre (phone 01298 84493). This is strategically situated just off the A515 Buxton to Ashbourne road, 8 miles south of Buxton. It is also just north of the junction between the Tissington Trail and the High Peak Trail - both disused railway tracks - so it is an excellent place from which to make a circuit on these trails.

The course then heads south from Parsley Hay take the left fork (the High Peak Trail) where the tracks diverge. This goes under the main road and then continues southwards through pleasant country, passing behind a refractory works before meeting the A5012. Cross this and continue along the trail, which twists and turns to contour around the hillsides. This line was a very early one, built in 1830, and many of the turns are very tight, while the design of the bridges and embankments is reminiscent of canal engineering.

Cross a small road with a car park at Gotham and continue with fine views over to Minninglow (a notable Neolithic burial site) on the left. Eventually you cross another major road, the B5035 at Longcliffe and there is a station here which may sell ice creams. Leave the trail here and take the road to Brassington, passing beneath the trail and after a small rise, descending steeply into the village. This was once a prosperous lead mining village and still has some fine houses from that period.

When you get to the village fork right towards the church, which is mostly Norman and well worth a look. There are also two pubs in the village if liquid, rather than spiritual refreshment is required. Go past the church taking a narrow road towards Bradbourne.

Bradbourne was once the most important village of the area since it was the seat of the principal landowners, the Buckston family. There is an Elizabethan hall set back from the road and a fine church with a Norman tower, but the most interesting and unusual feature is the ancient Saxon cross (dated about AD 800) which stands at the entrance to the churchyard.

Keep going through Bradbourne, the road descending fairly steeply to the B5035. Turn left, down the road for 400 metres, then turn off right along a narrow road which almost immediately fords the stream (keep pedalling!) This road then climbs the hillside out of the stream valley and across an unfenced area towards the pretty village of Tissington.

You meet the Tissington Trail at the former station, which is just before the village itself, but it is well worth going into the village, which has a magnificent hall and some lovely houses. It's a good place for a cup of tea, too.

From Tissington Station join the Tissington Trail and follow it northwards back to Parlsey Hey. It's a surprisingly long way and it is slowly, but steadily, uphill. Take your time, because there is some beautiful scenery to enjoy and places like Hartington Signal Box to stop at if you wish.