This is one of our most popular routes, exploring the extremely popular Upper Derwent Valley. Mountain bikers have been riding in this area for years due to its uniquely challenging trails, stunning views and flowing singletrack. This Upper Derwent MTB Ride gives a great introduction to anyone who is a keen mountain biker but perhaps hasn’t ridden in the area before.
The climb up through Crook Hill Farm is perfect for looking for the easiest way to the top with great views of the Edale Valley and beyond. Starting with an easy descent down to the top of Hagg Farm, before heading onto the top of Lockerbrook which is one of the two long descents.
The second climb takes you up onto the moors below Derwent Edge, an extremely popular and well-photographed area with a stunning backdrop. The drop down from Whinstone Lee Tor to the edge of the reservoir is classic singletrack which swoops and snakes its way down through the heather before dropping onto a wider rocky path.
This Upper Derwent MTB ride can also be easily extended for those looking for a long day’s riding.
In this video James from The Bike Garage shows you the ride pedal-stroke by pedal-stroke, allowing you to see this beautiful route in its entirety.
Length: 17 miles
A good medium distance route, the Upper Derwent MTB Ride has two significant climbs and descents looping around the beautiful scenery of the Ladybower and Derwent Reservoirs. This route starts and finishes at the Bike Garage with an option to stop at the Upper Derwent visitor center cafe halfway around the 17 mile ride. With two main climbs and two main descents this route climbs 1,700 ft and is almost entirely offroad.
Starting at The Bike Garage this route turns right out of the car park and through to the Bamford recreation ground behind the shop. After passing through the open grounds, turn left onto Water Lane then a little further along turn right onto the Thornhill Trail. Follow the Thornhill Trail for just over one mile to the Ladybower Dam, cross over the dam towards the A6013 before turning left and following the wide pavement/cycle path for just over one mile again. This brings you to the road that follows alongside the reservoirs towards the visitor centre, and on the left hand side is the first major climb to the top of Crook Hill Farm.
After the climb to Crook Hill Farm the bridleway works through the fields with a couple of little steep climbs for 1.5 miles before arriving at a gate. Go straight through this one instead of dropping down the bridleway to the right, keep following the bridleway for another half a mile bringing you to the top of the Hagg Farm descent. Follow the treeline to the right for half a mile again passing the Lockerbrook Farm Outdoor Centre before descending down the first of the two major descents on this ride.
This first descent is just shy of one mile dropping you just over 400ft. It is a varied descent starting smooth and gradually getting steeper and becoming a little rocky towards the end. This is a very fun descent that has recently had drainage work on so it is running very well! After shooting down to the road turn right and follow it down to the roundabout taking the first exit to the bottom of the Derwent Dam. Keep following the road that becomes a gravel track for just over one mile, when you get to the gate take the trail that splits off to the left through the field and up the stone slabs.
This is a tough climb, if you make it up to the old buildings without putting a foot down you deserve major kudos! From the old buildings the bridleway climbs a further 370ft over just half a mile before leveling off and following the wall line to the right, this is a perfect time to look to your right and take in the beautiful views of the reservoirs below. After the last little kick up to the top of Whinstone Lee Tor it is time to descend down to the Ladybower Inn.
Be careful when getting to the road as it is a fast one that is busy all the time. Cross over the road heading down to the traffic lights and turn left over the bridge. From here the route traces itself back to The Bike Garage, a nice gentle finish along the Thornhill Trail.
This route comes in at 17 miles, with two main climbs and two main descents and the option to link into other routes this is the perfect starting point for people wanting something a little more challenging from a fitness point of view.
The Upper Derwent MTB Ride is brought to you by the Bike Garage
Gateway to your adventure