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Sheffrec - Spring in the Peak.

Blog Posted on 26 Jul 2011

I am indebted to Oliver Wright for this route, which is a 110km ride from Hathersage across much of the southern and western Peaks and almost entirely on quiet minor roads. 
From the Pool café, down the hill heading towards Grindleford on the B6001.  Over the river, then second right, up the hill on a narrow road that bears some resemblance to Alpine climbs (steep, with hairpins), past Leam Farm and through the wood to join the Sir William Hill road.  A further stiff climb, then along the side of the hill and a drop down, past Mompesson's Well, to Eyam village. A right turn in the village take you upwards, and on the Follow.  A left turn opposite the Bull's Head, then next right leads to the busy A623 Chesterfield-Buxton road.  But after only a couple of hundred metres we turn left onto another minor road (signed "Cavendish Mill").  Second left off this leads over the top of Longstone Edge, with spectacular views to the south over the White Peak.  Down the Edge and left in Great Longstone village, then right towards Thornbridge Hall and down the hill into Ashford.  Over the bridge and up the hill where we turn right past the caravan park and continue climbing, up Crowhill Lane.  Left, then across the road and past Lady Manners School (where Seb Coe amongst others spent their formative years) and on towards Youlgreave. 
Left at the church in Youlgreave, down the hill, then right in Alport, heading for Elton village on an up and down road.  Left at the edge of the village, back down the hill and left on a tiny unmarked road that leads to Middleton.  A left turn in the village takes up up a steep hill, heading for Newhaven (not the Sussex one!). A right, then left turn takes us onto the busy A515 Buxton-Ashbourne road, but only for a short distance, before a right turn to Biggin gives a return to tranquility.  Down the hill, through Biggin and on to Hartington where there is the option of cafe stops. Out on the main road from Hartington, across the border into Staffordshire and on to Warslow.  A right turn here, towards Leek means a long climb onto the moors, to the Mermaid Inn, with at the top the potential of views across as far as the Welsh hills, and much closer, the dramatic rocky outcrops of The Roaches.  A swift descent to the village of Thorncliffe, then right onto a minor road that leads to the busy A53.  A right then almost immediately left here leads downhill to the Tittesworth Reservoir (and visitors centre with cafe), then to Meerbrook village.  A right turn by the Lazy Trout pub takes us closer to The Roaches.  Up a couple of steep hills, then at the junction either a detour right to the delights of the Roaches Tea Room, or left to go round the base of the Roaches. The terrain here reminds me more of Scotland than the north Midlands, with banks of heather and dramatic views across open moorland. 
Round the Roaches, then right at the junction takes up back to the busy A53.  Left then right, past the pub, leads to a long descent to Longnor village, where there are more cafe/pub options.  Over the crossroads, then down the hill to cross the River Dove and climb the hill past Crowdicote and on to the junction with the A515.  Straight over leads to Monyash (with another cafe option).  Left then right here, towards Sheldon, then right at the top of the hill and left to plunge down the hill in Kirkdale and briefly onto the A6 to Ashford. Left onto A6020, then left again onto B6465 takes us up past Monsal Head to the summit then right at the crossroads towards Foolow and down to join the A623.
Right then left takes us back to Foolow, and left opposite the Bull's Head to the next right turn towards Grindlow on a very minor road.  Right in the village leads up towards the Gliding Club, reached after a sharp left turn and a further climb.  After that it's pretty much all downhill, through Abney village and past the delightful Elizabethan Highlow Hall to join the B6001 main road just outside Hathersage.  A left turn at the bottom of the hill leads back to the start.
This is a pretty challenging ride, involving 2600m of climbing.  But is very possible to ride sections of it - eg Hathersage to Youlgreave (27km) or Youlgreave to Hartington (20km).  But ridden as a whole it shows the range of scenery across the Peaks, from the millstone grit of the cliffs above Hathersage, to the limestone of Longstone, to the gritstone of the Roaches.  Sadly you are most unlikely to see any wallabies on the Roaches now, but they are nevertheless a dramatic feature and popular with hikers and rock climbers.

This blog was brought to you by Sheffrec Cycling Club



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