Edale Valley tough cycle trail
Barber Booth car park, Edale, Peak District, DerbyshireRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This is a superb ultra-challenging cycle circuit exploring the high country around the Edale Valley, and displaying some of the best views the Peak District has to offer.
- Bus stop
Start: Barber Booth car park, grid ref: SK113847
Starting at Barber Booth car park get on the Upper Booth road and cycle through that hamlet, continuing up the valley, past the last Lee farm, as the track becomes gradually rougher. Cross the stream via a narrow bridge at the foot of Jacob's Ladder. The main track is extremely steep, roughly paved and with occasional steps, so most riders will end up getting off and pushing before the top.
The moorland around Edale and the rest of the Peak District provide a mosaic of habitats including heath, blanket bog, acidic grassland, scrub and gritstone edges. Plants and animals have had to adapt to cope with the low temperatures, high rainfall and windy conditions. The moor on Kinder has suffered extreme erosion over the last century and the Trust is currently restoring key vegetation to bring the moor back to life.
After passing the zig-zags the track becomes rideable again; cross the watershed and descend slightly before rising to cross a shoulder, where the stump of Edale Cross (an old wayside cross) can be seen. From here it's fairly steeply downhill, on a very rough track.
These majestic geological features have been formed by thousands of years of weathering, exposing the harder gritstone. The dramatic stone formations form an integral part of the Kinder plateau. They have developed special names, like Ringing Roger, Woolpacks and Noe Stool.
Near the bottom of the valley pick up a farm track from the left, the road soon gains a tarmac surface. You reach the River Sett at the bottom and the road forks, keep on the tarmac and continue downstream, following the Sett all the way down to the centre of Hayfield.
The red grouse is a beautiful game bird and can be spotted in Peak District moorland all year round. They breed in the United Kingdom and travel very little in their lifetimes. Sadly, their population is now declining, perhaps due to disease and the loss of heather moorland.
In the centre of Hayfield turn left and follow the road (Church Street) past the church. This turns right to join the main road (A624) and there is an antique shop on the corner with a large clock.
Edale Valley is made up by a series of 'booths' or hamlets. The valley is still managed by traditional farmers, who help maintain its natural beauty, although over 70 per cent of the farms have now been lost or converted into residential homes
Take the small road (Highgate Lane) which branches off left. Continue straight on, up the old road, running parallel to the A624. Pass an isolated bungalow on your right and soon you come to a three-way junction; take the sunken bridleway (Pennine Brideway), heading straight for Mount Famine. Mount Famine is set on the south of the circuit here; head for the gap between that hill and the next one, South Head.
Skirt to the north of South Head and when the path divides take the right fork, which descends diagonally down the hillside. This track passes the top of another and continues round the hillside slowly descending.
After a steep decline and ascent, the track takes a long, gradually rising, traverse around the hillside to reach the A625 at the foot of Rushup Edge. Turn left up the road.
About 100 metres up the road youll find a stile, which marks the start of Chapel Gate - an old packhorse route into Edale. This old track has cut a deep trench into the hillside and its floor is rough and rocky. (Please note: it is a by-way and you may come across 4x4 vehicles that have caused much of the trail damage).
Follow it to the top of Rushup Edge, then branch left over the ridge and directly down into Edale Valley, to rejoin the road and turn left downhill for 400 metres and then turn left at the bottom of the hill signed for Upper Booth, head back up this road to the car park.
You will need to carry your bike over the stile at Rushup Edge.
End: Barber Booth car park, grid ref: SK113847
- Trail: Cycling
- Grade: Hard
- Distance: 16 miles (25km)
- Time: 4 hours
- OS Map: Landranger 110, Explorer OL1
Challenging route across rough and sometimes steep tracks, suitable for more experienced riders. Also great to do the other way round. These trails are used by cyclists, walkers and horse riders and are often busy. Be prepared for loose/gravel surfaces, dont cycle too close to other cyclists and beware of vehicles on country roads. We strongly recommend that you wear a helmet.
- How to get here:
By bike: On-road routes and a network of bridleways link Edale with other valleys. Pennine Bridleway makes up part of this trail south of Hayfield
By bus: 260 Edale to Castleton, alight at Edale. Find bus information
By train: Hope 7 miles (11.2km), Sheffield 18 miles (28.9km)
By car: M1 J30 or M67 J1. A625 out of Sheffield, then A6187 to Edale
- Contact us