The Peak District has five trails which are all set up along former railway tracks, making them flat, scenic and picturesque and ideal for easing walking, cycling and horse riding.
The Tissington Trail
The Tissington Trail is a very scenic route 13 miles long, running from Parsley Hay to Mapleton Lane, just north of Ashbourne. It follows the old Buxton to Ashbourne railway line and is a trail perfect for those with children, as it is devoid of cars, pollution or noise.
Set up by the Peak District National Park, the trail was put there for recreational purposes after the removal of the track bed. It was one of the first experiments of its kind in the country and was opened to the public in 1971. Mapleton lane has a very good range of facilities including a really good cycle hire shop, with cycles suitable for all ages and refreshments. There is also a really large car park which gets very full in the summer, and an overspill parking area in the neighbouring field.
The trail itself leaves Mapleton Lane and leads gradually upwards into the surrounding spectacular countryside, where it reaches Thorpe, a small car park and a picnic table ideal for a rest stop.
Onwards it continues to the picturesque village of Tissington with its very own Hall. It’s not earned its reputation as being possibly the prettiest village in Derbyshire for nothing and there are refreshments to be had and lots of picnic areas.
The trial continues to Alsop and then onto Hartington, before eventually getting to Parsley Hay , where it meets up with the High Peak Trail.
The High Peak Trail
This trail begins where the Tissington Trail ends at Parsley Hay. It uses the route of the former High Peak Railway and finishes at Cromford. It’s a traffic free trail and is suitable for cyclists, horse riders and walkers of all abilities and passes through some of the Peak District and Derbyshire’s finest landscape. It is now the start of the Pennine bridleway with the cycle route starting at Middleton top and the horse riding route at Hartington, but there are 17 1/2 miles of gorgeous trail.
Walkers need to be warned that the railway was not level and had several quite steep inclines, which now provide a challenge for cyclists and it is much less straight for the railways with sharp curves, which give frequent changes of view. Along the trail there are sidings, signals and engine houses which remind us it was once the railway and also of its industrial heritage. The trail now supports abundant wildlife and crosses gorgeous limestone countryside with many wildflowers including cowslips, thyme and wild strawberry in spring and summer months.
Veering off from the trail at the top of the Hill are spectacular Black Rocks which overlook the High Peak Trail and are popular with climbers and families sharing picnic.
There is a visitor centre and cycle hire shop at Middleton Top, and also at Parsley Hay.
The Longendale Trail
Just south of the A628 and north of the town of Glossop, the Longendale Trail is set within a very picturesque valley, with by reservoirs surrounded by stunning moorland. On the reservoirs themselves, there are lots of recreation activities including sailing, but the cycling and walking, as well as horse riding on the trail is suitable for people with disabilities.
This trail is a long distance one which runs approximately 6 1/2 miles from Hadfield Derbyshire, to Woodhead Tunnel before crossing the main road and climbing a steep moorland track towards the Yorkshire border at Salters Brook. It is also a railway track, which follows the line of the former Manchester Sheffield railway, converted to a very safe trail suitable for everyone.
The surface of the trail is smooth and sandy which makes it suitable for people in wheelchairs as well as families with small children and pushchairs.