The route when complete will be a major asset to residents, and businesses, linking the market towns of Bakewell, Buxton and Matlock, and a fantastic way to experience the Peak District National Park.
It has the potential to attract visitors from all over the UK, converting some day visits to overnight stays, as well as promoting greener travel. It is being developed as part of Derbyshire's Key Cycle Network.
The completed loop will aim to cater for all - walkers, cyclists, and horse riders where possible. It will be a route both residents and visitors can enjoy for everyday short trips, or a 2 to 4-day adventure with no need to hurry. You can stop whenever you fancy.
Route close to completion
Seventy one per cent (61.6km) of the route is now complete. Follow the blue White Peak Loop (WPL) signs.
A lot more funding is needed, and it may take some time to complete the missing links due to securing the necessary finance, landowner and other permissions.
The missing gaps are from the western end of the Monsal Trail at Topley Pike into Buxton, High Peak Junction (Cromford) to Matlock Railway Station and Rowsley to Bakewell through the Haddon Tunnels.
We have recently been awarded a grant from government agency Active Travel England which is an exciting step forward towards developing the missing links for the route in and around Buxton. This funding will be used to progress detailed engineering design for the missing sections – including connecting the White Peak Loop from the end of the Monsal Trail at Blackwell Mill into Buxton Town Centre and on to Harpur Hill.
This builds upon previous route appraisals which identified a preferred route from the end of the Monsal Trail along Wye Dale and Woo Dale to Buxton that would involve new bridges over the river. The options involve work within a flood plain, Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and will require approvals and further work to fully cost the scheme.
Route appraisal is currently underway for the missing section along the Derwent Valley corridor between High Peak Junction and Matlock. Once a route is identified, further work will be required to fully cost the scheme.
Bridleway drainage improvements and surfacing works have been completed off Church Lane, Rowsley. We're planning on further improvements to this bridleway as it forms a useful interim link from the end of the WPL at Church Lane, Rowsley to the Monsal Trail on Coombs Road, Bakewell. The ultimate preferred long-term route from Rowsley into Bakewell would be through Haddon Estate. This section could entail the building of 3 bridges and the refurbishment and opening of a 1km long tunnel.
We'll work towards achieving the most feasible, deliverable options that will benefit the most people and create further local connections for both active travel and leisure.
By the end of March 2025 we hope to have an interim route signed. A preferred route from High Peak Junction (Cromford) onwards to Matlock will have been identified and costed.
The Cycle Derbyshire map is attached to this page. It will help you connect the gaps from High Peak Junction to Matlock using the A6, then Rowsley to Bakewell using public rights of way which involves a steep climb and a rougher surface.
At Topley Pike you can 'hike-a-bike' from the Monsal Trail onto the Pennine Bridleway National Trail to connect with the High Peak Trail. This provides a temporary off-road alternative until the main onward route for the White Peak Loop into Buxton is completed.
The map shows the locations of cycle hire centres, railway stations and car parks along the route.
You can also pick up a copy of the Cycle Derbyshire Map from selected businesses and all libraries across Derbyshire.
The route uses traffic-free trails, public rights of way and some sections of public open roads. It's being designed so that it can be ridden on any kind of bike that's in good mechanical order and the right size for the rider. Low gearing will make climbing the hills much less daunting. Good quality tyres between 28mm and 40mm in width are a sensible all-round choice for a comfortable multi-terrain ride.
It's possible to cycle the full loop (86km or 53 miles) in a day if you're a strong cyclist, or as a series of 'out and back' day trips. More leisurely cyclists wishing to complete the full loop can do so over a weekend or several days staying overnight at a range of cycle-friendly accommodation.
There are lots of interesting places on route, so to give yourself plenty of time to stop, explore and admire the views.
Walk the route
Many people have walked all or part of the route. But as it's not yet complete and fully waymarked you may need to use a GPS or Ordnance Survey map to join up the loop from High Peak Junction (Cromford) to Matlock station and between the end of the Monsal Trail to and through Buxton.
Horse riding along the route
Horse riders are welcome on the High Peak, Tissington and Monsal shared use trails which form part of the loop.
The Pennine Bridleway National Trailwhich runs for 205 miles through the dramatic Pennine hills from Derbyshire to Cumbria opens up opportunities for the more adventurous.
A start point for this, which is recommended for horse riders is at Hartington Station on the Tissington Trail. A horse box park with turning area has been provided here, along with tethering and watering facilities.
Doing the White Peak Loop with kids is an amazing adventure and experience for the whole family. The Peak District offers so much variety, there is something for everyone.
With kids it can take a little longer so it's best to choose an itinerary that has a few key stops each day with plenty of time for other fun experiences.
Look out for the sculpted benches along the trails and the mural at Friden brickworks.
Take an audio tour at High Peak Junction Visitor Centre workshops. Explore the National Stone Centre next to the High Peak Trail at Wirksworth and the nearby Steeple Grange Light Railway.
Visit the World Heritage Site including Arkwright's Mill (the world's first cotton-spinning mill) near Cromford Wharf.
Use the network to visit the historic towns and villages of Ashbourne, Cromford, Hartington, Tissington and Wirksworth.
Wheelchair users and mobility scooters
The Monsal Trail provides a firm, level surface from the car park at Bakewell Station south to Coombs Road viaduct and north to Blackwell Mill near Buxton (approximately 8.5 miles). Also suitable are sections of the High Peak and Tissington Trails.
All terrain mobility scooters can be hired from:
Accessing the route
There are several car parks along the route which are shown on the Cycle Derbyshire map. However, why not ditch the car and travel by rail or bus?
The route is accessible by train from the local rail stations of Cromford, Matlock Bath, Matlock and Buxton. Trains tend to have between 2 and 6 dedicated bicycle spaces and booking in advance is the best way to secure a stress-free journey and avoid disappointment.
If you're on foot, there are local bus services within easy reach of the route. The Traveline journey plannerwill help you find the best routes and connections for your journey by bus and train.
We'll add news on future developments for various sections of the route here when known.
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