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White Peak Loop

Working with a range of partners and stakeholders our ambition is to create an iconic leisure route of around 86km around the beautiful ‘White Peak’ area of the Derbyshire Peak District. 


Family cycling on the White Peak Loop

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, as well as supporting the area's green recovery. 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 journeys, or a 2 to 4-day adventure with no need to hurry. You can stop whenever you fancy.

Route close to completion

71% (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 Blackwell Mill Cottages into Buxton and from High Peak Junction near Cromford to Matlock Railway Station. The ultimate preferred 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.

Over the next 12 to 18 months our target is to undertake consultations and negotiations for the missing sections so that we can develop plans and apply for funding to complete the loop. 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. 

Funding has been approved for a Derwent Valley cycleway feasibility study. This will include the missing section of the White Peak Loop between High Peak Junction and Matlock. Once a preferred route is identified, work would take place to fully cost the scheme.

Bridleway drainage improvements and surfacing works have recently been completed off Church Lane, Rowsley. We're planning on further improvements to this bridleway this year as it forms a useful interim link from the end of the WPL at Rowsley to the Monsal Trail on Coombs Road.

By the end of March 2023 we hope to have completed some of the missing links through and to Buxton. A preferred route from High Peak Junction (Cromford) onwards to Matlock will have been identified and costed.

Organisations are campaigning for the reinstatement of an active railway on a section of the WPL known as the Monsal Trail. The current proposal does not pass key tests that need to be applied to any proposal to reinstate a railway line within the Peak District National Park.

Cycle Derbyshire

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.

Families

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 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.

More information

We'll add news on future developments for various sections of the route here when known.

For further information please email sustainable.travel@derbyshire.gov.uk