A Walk or Ride Along the High Peak Trail
The High Peak Trail offers 17 miles of almost traffic-free bliss for walkers, runners, cyclists and horse-riders, stretching between Dowlow near Buxton and High Peak Junction near Cromford. There is a very steep hill between Cromford and Middleton Top, but after leaving Middleton Top the route is reasonably level, flat and well-maintained, so it’s also accessible for wheelchair-users and those with prams and pushchairs. There are a number of level access points on to the route, including Hurdlow, Parsley Hay, Friden and Minninglow.
The High Peak Trail follows the route of the former High Peak Railway Line, opened in 1831 to carry minerals between Cromford Canal and the Peak Forest Canal. The line closed in 1967, and the land was bought by the Peak District National Park in 1971 for conversion into a trail for walkers, runners, cyclists and riders.
The trail runs through stunning limestone countryside. It also passes close to the mysterious and ancient site of Minninglow, the site of a number of Neolithic chambered tombs and Bronze Age burial barrows.
You can still see plenty of echoes of the trail’s railway past on the route, including bridges, sidings and signals. Also look out for the high, limestone embankments that curve through the rolling green fields. There’s a particularly impressive one close to Minninglow; it’s received recognition as a Grade II listed structure because of its importance as a pre-Victorian example of civil engineering.
The High Peak Trail links up with the 13 mile long Tissington Trail at Parsley Hay, creating a great long distance route, part of the National Cycle Network. There are cycle hire facilities at Parsley Hay and Middleton Top, and Visitor Information Centres at Parsley Hay, Middleton Top and High Peak Junction.
How do I get to the High Peak Trail?
The High Peak Trail starts at High Peak Junction (DE4 5HN), which is 2 miles south of Cromford off the A6 and well signposted. There is a car park with a visitor centre and small café here. It runs to Dowlow, south of Buxton, signposted from the A515.
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