The Peak District is a paradise for road cyclists.
With hundreds of miles of roads to ride, beautiful villages and landscapes around every corner, challenging hills to climb and plenty of warm and dry cafes and pubs to welcome you. It is no wonder that so many people are visiting this area with cycling in mind.
Rokeby Cottage in Hathersage offers the road cyclist a great bike-in-bike-out experience. Cyclists can set out from the cottage and head North up to Stanage Edge and over to Redmires Reservoirs, even going over to Strines Inn in Bradfield. Heading East from Hathersage takes the rider over the moorland towards Sheffield. Heading West following the Derwent river (Derbyshire's longest) and the Hope Valley takes the cyclist to some of the steepest hills of the High Peak. Finally South presents the rider with long valley cycles, following the Derwent river down towards Baslow, Chatsworth and Bakewell.
As you cycle West you move from the rugged gritstone rocky outcrops of the Dark Peak to the flatter plateaux of the limestone White Peak and the very steep cliffs where the rivers have cut through the ground over the centuries. Make a day of it and head over to Monsal Head and take in the best of both Peaks.
Here are some great cycle routes from Rokeby Cottage:
Route 1 - Derwent Dash.
45 miles, 3 hours 15 minutes.
This route follows the roads which trace the Derwent River from Hathersage up to the source and then back all the way to Bakewell. 25 miles: Cycle from Hathersage to the 'Kings Tree' past the three dams in the upper Derwent valley. Note this was the site where the RAF 'Dambusters' mission was practised prior to the attack in Germany. See here for a video of the commemorative fly-by. and back for breakfast at Hathersage Pool Cafe. Then 20 miles out to Bakewell, through the beautiful grounds of Chatsworth House, for afternoon tea and cake, before returning to Hathersage. Click here for full route details.
Route 2 - Hope Valley.
17.5 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes.
This route heads out through the Hope Valley all the way to Edale, stopping at the Nag's Head pub. This is the official start of the Pennine Way. Stop at the Pub for some refreshment and return by road or even put your bike on the train and come back the easy way! Click here for full route details.
Route 3 - Mam Nick
18.14 miles , 1 hour 20 minutes.
As with Route 2 this heads out through the Hope Valley, turning off at Hope and following the railway line to the turn to Edale village. But instead of taking the turn, continue on and up a fairly steep and sustained hill heading up towards Mam Tor. This 'nick' in the road which breaks the ridge from Rushup's Edge to Mam Tor is known as Mam Nick and is the high-point of the trip. Stop here to enjoy the views and take a drink. Even walk up to the top of Mam Tor to take in the even more spectacular views and watch the hang-glider and parapentes hovering above you. Continuing on by bike you descend to the main Chapel-en-le-Frith road and from there down the very very steep Winnats Pass, pass the famous Blue John and Speedwell Caverns, through Castleton and back to Hathersage. Click here for the full route details. It is just about possible to do this route in reverse, but you have to know how to climb very steep slopes for a sustained period of time (Max 20%, Avg. 11.7% for 1.6km). See here for some information about the steepness of Winnats Pass.
Route 4 - Baslow Loop
18.3 miles, 1 hour 12 minutes.
This is a fantastic route which has a bit of everything; moorland climbing followed by a long breezy descent to Baslow and Derwent Valley return via Grindleford. Climb out from Hathersage cycling past the Millstone Pub and then beneath Millstone Edge the scene of some of Britains breakthrough climbing in the 1970s. Follow the road round the Surprise View corner (worth pulling off the road to look back at the view of Hathersage and the Hope Valley in the distance), and heading across country to the Fox House pub. Turn right and head further over the moorland to Owler Bar and the Peacock Inn. All three of these pubs serve fine hearty meals and great beers. Descend down to Baslow and follow the Derwent Valley back to Hathersage through Grindleford.