Where: Eyam, Derbyshire.
Distance: 17.7 miles.
Ascent: 2,563 ft.
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL24
Parking: There is a car park in Eyam. The Miners Arms pub also has a car park though it's probably best to ask if it is ok to use and then go in for a pint after.
Overview: This part of the Peak District is not as high as the Dark Peak but still has some fantastic trails. The route is made up of varying surfaces - rocks, grass, gravel, mud and tarmac. It includes some of the best descents to be found in the Peaks. Rideable all year round but can have some wet and muddy sections.
Map: (click the symbols on the map to view photographs of the route)
Details: (click on a grid reference to centre the OS map above on that point)
1. (0 miles) SK221764 Leave Eyam on the B6521 towards Grindleford. This road has a habit of falling down the hill so parts may be closed! There is an alternative: up past the Riley graves then down a track through a small wood. This brings you back out on the B6521 opposite the corner where the descent to Stoney Middleton starts.
2. (0.9 miles) SK234759 The first good descent of the ride! Drop down the rocky trail to Stoney Middleton (Note: this descent has been re-surfaced and ruined. It remains to be seen whether it will get back to it's previous rocky state). When you hit tarmac you will swing round to the right and come to a T-junction. Turn left and meet the A623 after a few yards. Turn left onto the main road and follow it out of the village. After about half a mile turn right into Coombs Dale signposted "Private Road". A long gradual climb, mostly on limestone, leads to the junction of several tracks.
3. (3.8 miles) SK206741 Go through a gate on your left and straight up to another gate which enters a grassy field. Follow the edge of the field to another gate. Through this is a singletrack bridleway climb. Ascend this to another gate then follow the edge of another field to the gate out onto a gravel quarry road. Turn left. Climb up the gravel road then descend to a dip. On the right between dry stone walls lies the start of a brilliant descent.
4. (5.1 miles) SK214734 An excellent fast, rocky descent leads to a T-junction. Turn right and the track soon becomes tarmac. This goes through Rowland to another T-junction. Turn left and go down to Hassop. Turn right at the junction in Hassop then as you pass a farm on the left turn left up a short ramp to a gate. Go through the gate to follow a track through more gates to a descent to a ford. Go through the ford or risk the slippery footbridge! Ascend a short climb then follow doubletrack down through more gates to the A619. Turn right onto the main road then almost immediately left onto another track. The next section can be very wet and muddy but becomes drier as you start to climb. Follow this track to Pilsley where it joins tarmac. Turn left and go into the village. Two right turns will bring you onto the B6048.
5. (8.9 miles) SK238706 Take the first left. Climb up past a wood and ignore a left turn (this descent to Edensor is another good one if you wish to extend the route). Just over the crest of the hill take the bridleway on your left. This descends through the golf course and is a fun technical challenge. At the bottom turn right and join the Monsal trail at Bakewell station. You can relax for a while now as you cruise along this old railway line. You should keep an eye out for the bridge over the A6020. You exit the trail at the next bridge after.
6. (12.4 miles) SK205709 Come off the Monsal trail on the right and drop to the road. Turn right onto the road (Longreave Lane). Follow the road to a T-junction and turn right. Take the first left (this is the turn you came out of in section 4) back through Rowland. Retrace your steps back to the bottom of the billiant descent in section 4 but do not go up this. Instead carry straight on on the rocky track. Turn right when you meet another track. This track climbs up and then loops left giving some excellent views to the right. Stay on it until it descends to a dip with a gate on the right and small wood on the left.
7. (15.2 miles) SK217736 Go through the gate across the quarry track to another gate. This next section is very rutted due to it's popularity with motocrossers. Go over the rise and then descend quickly on a wide rutted trail back to point 3. Go through the gate at the bottom and turn right down to the gate you went through in the other direction earlier. Go straight on and ascend Black Harry Lane. This arrives at a junction with another lane. Go straight over to descend through the quarry. Be careful of quarry vehicles as you cross the quarry tracks! A final steep drop brings you out on the A623 opposite the Eyam turning. All that remains is the road climb back up to Eyam.
Possible extensions: The most obvious is to take the Edensor descent mentioned above. This brings you out in Chatsworth Park. The bridleway through New Piece Wood and Manners Wood (which includes another excellent descent) can then be followed to join the Monsal trail further south.