Chatsworth Gold, Chatsworth Estate (9 miles/15 km)
Over the years I’ve ridden numerous routes in and around Bakewell and the Chatsworth Estate. In this wonderful short ride I think I have just about synthesised some of the best trails and descents into one super bite-size package. The ride starts and finishes in the beautiful estate of Chatsworth House and almost immediately you’ll be pedalling through green pastures heading for your first high. The aesthetics on this ride are as super as the descents are fast. The only fault with this route is that it doesn’t go on longer!
From Calton Lees car park head along the road through the Chatsworth Estate so that the House comes into your view over to your right. About a mile of easy riding later, you will see a worn/gravely patch in the grass to your left and a post indicating the bridleway. It’s a grassy bridleway, and not overly worn – but if you look, you will see it there. Turn left up hill onto this bridleway. This will lead you up to the woods. You’ll turn right near the top and then swing left through a gate into the woods. Up hill through the trees and out the other side.
Glorious 400m or so of cycling along the bridleway through the pasture land to another copse. You’ll soon come to a gate – keep going up hill to another gate. Turn left through that and down the trail. Out the other side and up the hill along single-track to the woods. You’re near the top of the first descent now. Follow this along and then down down down, great riding, but watch out for riders and walkers who might be coming the other way! This will spit you out onto an open gravel track on the other side. Follow this down hill to the main road in Rowsley. Turn left onto the A6.
Keep going round and then left onto the B6016, and shortly up the hill right, up the Chesterfield Rd. This bit is a bit steep but it doesn’t last long. Look out for the bridleway on your left – take this. Through the trees, (it forks left after about 300m), through a delightful glade and over a footbridge. Right turn up hill through more gates. Follow the track past a huge barn and all the way to the next road. Turn right, up hill, not far now, and to the top. Follow this round to the left and then down down down a wonderful byway – yahooing it all the way. Try not to ride into any 4WD vehicles coming the other way and try not to wipe out on the way down. From personal experience I recommend, pads, mitts, and maybe a mouth guard too!
Eventually you’ll come back to the main road. Turn right and shortly your car park where you started will be up to your left. Head back to the car, or alternatively head down to the river for a quick (bonus) swim!
Start / Finish Location – Calton Lees Car Park, on the B6012, Chatsworth Estate
Distance: 9.5 miles / 15 km
Height gain: 475m
Time required: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
How tough? A ride of two hills – which are over before you know it! Easy for a seasoned cyclist.
How technical? Two brilliant fast descents which will need you to keep your wits about you – but they’re not overly technical
Nearest bike hire: Peak eBikes – Hassop Station (near Bakewell) on the Monsal Trail
Local pubs we would recommend: The Grouse and Claret, Rowsley, DE4 2EB (You can stop here en-route, or start/finish from this pub)
What bike for this ride?
For all these routes I ride an On One Scandal hard-tail. Really, for 95% of mountain biking in the Peak District, a decent hard-tail will see you right.
Mountain bike hire in the Peak District
We’ve listed here a few places that offer higher spec mountain bikes for hire. Typically you can expect to pay around £35 per day for hiring a decent bike from these places. For families looking to do a circuit of the reservoirs, lower spec bicycles will be perfect and cost closer to £20 for the day.
- The Bike Garage – Bamford/Hope Valley
- Derwent Bike Hire – Derwent / Ladybower Reservoirs
- Peak eBikes – Hassop Station (near Bakewell) on the Monsal Trail
- Carsington Water Bike Hire (southern most White Peak)
Further reading / information
- 10 of the Best Peak District Mountain Biking Trails
- Peak District Accommodation
- Mountain Biking Skills Courses
- 10 Ways to Be Better at Map Reading for Mountain Bikers
- Ten GREAT Peak District walks to do
- The Tongue In Cheek History Of The Peak District
- Vertebrate Publishing – mountain biking guidebooks
- Peak District MTB – voluntary organisation that aims to preserve, improve and promote mountain biking within the Peak District National Park