1. Fabulous Cycle-Trails
One of the joys of cycling is exploring areas that are not accessible by car – Derbyshire and the Peak District is ideal for this. There are numerous cycle routes throughout the Derbyshire and Peak National Park. A great option for family groups are the trails around the reservoirs.
Cycle the 8-mile trail that circles Carsington Water or the longer 15-mile trail around the Derwent Reservoirs. The Carsington trail is nearly all off-road so ideal for family groups. There are also good eating facilities, toilets and play facilities for children.
The Derwent trail is more challenging with some steeper ascents and descents. Both also offer opportunities to see some varied bird species, adding an extra interest, as well as the famous link with the World War Two Dam busters. Another of our favourites is the Monsal Trail, located at the edge of Bakewell to Blackwell Mill. The trail runs along the disused railway track and offers some stunning scenery and allows riders to experience travel through the 6 dimly lit tunnels.
2. Choice of Terrains
The Peak District National Park offers different terrains – from easy going, to explorer and extended. The easy-going routes are traffic free, ideas for beginners and mixed groups. The explore routes are more challenging and provide the opportunity to explore some of the ‘real Peak District’. The extended routes tend to cover multi-day cycles and are designed to for more experienced riders.
The different levels of trail have multiple routes and are supported by GPX files. The GPX files contain location data, such as way-points, routes and tracks. They use a standard format that can be imported and read by multiple software and devices such as smartphones and Google maps and can be great guides along the way.
For mountain bikers there is the South Peak Loop, a 70-mile route, but helpfully split into sections. The great route was created by Peak HorsePower, a horse-riding advocacy group. The route takes in farm tracks, converted railway lines, and quiet country lanes. It takes I some wonderful sites along the way, including the Manifold Valley, Chatsworth and Chee Dale. A few riders complete the route in one-day, but this is a steep challenge and leaves little time to enjoy the sights. Spread over 2-3 days it will allow time for a more leisurely ride exploring the varied landscapes and sites.
3. You Don’t Need to Bring a Bike With You.
Can’t fit all the family’s bicycles on your car? No worries! There are plenty of places to hire cycles if you are not bringing your own. Carsington water has a cycle hire centre and at Derwent Reservoir cycles can be hired form Fairholmes visitor centre.
Hassop Station, which is located along the Monsal trail, offers a variety of cycles for hire, including electric bikes. Electric bikes are becoming more popular and are great to allow groups of different ability to experience the same trails.
Peak District Holiday Cottages
Many accommodation providers in Derbyshire and Peak District are keen to welcome cyclists. There are several accommodation providers with secure cycle storage and washing facilities, which is ideal if you are bringing your own cycles. Holiday Cottages for cyclists should have enough bathrooms for hot showers or baths for soaking tired legs after a day pedalling the trails in all weathers.
Most accommodation providers will also be able to point you in the direction of cycle shops if needed. If you are hiring cycles there are often better rates for longer hire periods and it is worth asking if they can deliver direct to your holiday accommodation. Many will have attachable tug-alongs for infants or baby carriages even dog boxes available to hire.
Owners, such as at Derwent House who are happy to welcome cyclists, will have a store of good advice on routes, places to visit, best pubs and cafes on the trails etc. Feel free to ask them when making an enquiry. They’ll be happy to help!
Where to Stay
Suitable for: Large Families or Groups of Friends
With six bedrooms, five bathrooms, (lashings of hot water) sleeping up to twelve, secure cycle racks and washing facilities, this large and beautifully presented holiday cottage in Matlock is perfect for cycling holidays with friends or a large family.
Derwent House is nicely handy for many other Peak District attractions too, such as Chatsworth House and Alton Towers making it perfect for holidays or weekends away for non-cycling holiday s too. Click Here to view Derwent House
Suitable for: Families or small groups of friends
A charming three-bedroom rural holiday cottage at Farditch Farm in the picturesque Peak District village of Chelmorton near Buxton, lies within easy reach of the Tissington and Monsall Trails.
For days and evenings when you are not in the saddle, there are superb rural views to be enjoyed from the cottage from its private patio and BBQ terrace.
Suitable for: Couples
4-Star Derby Cottage is a beautifully restored barn in the countryside on a working farm outside Bakewell.
It's a delightful and cosy bolthole for couples wanting a warm, comfortable and stylish base after a day's pedalling in the Peaks.
It's also within easy reach of the Tissington and Monsall Trails.