Ringinglow and Devil’s Elbow MTB Ride (7 miles/12 km)
If you have a couple of hours spare, maybe after work or upon your arrival in the area, this short route on the outskirts of Sheffield will have something to test your cross-country mettle. You’ll get to warm up on the technical trails at Ringinglow (graded about blue) which are always fun and these will lead you onto the Houndkirk Road. You’ll not be on this long before you’ll be sampling a bit of Peak District gritstone firmly rolling around your tyres as you tumble down the Jumble Road. This little test piece precedes things to come – the infamous Devil’s Elbow, before a taxing climb leads you back to more japes on the Houndkirk Trail, tea and medals, and maybe even a pint at the nearby Norfolk Arms. Rock and roll: what’s not to like!?
Starting from the Stony Ridge Car Park, head west along the A625 for just a couple of hundred meters or so, before turning right onto the Houndkirk Trail. Follow this big wide byway for around 2Km before you come to a junction in the trail, with the plantation up and to your left. Turn left uphill here. Shortly you will pass through a gate, and along the trail with the woods to your right. Look out for a wide gate to your right (wide enough to drive a truck through). Through this gate you have two technical trails to have a play on. The one to the right is slightly less technical of the two, and will take you 3 – 5 minutes to descend. The trail on the left is slightly faster and more technical, and if I am only going to do one trail, that’s my favourite of the two.
Once you have finished playing around in the plantation, follow the central trail down to the gate and car park at the bottom. Turn right, headed up hill back towards the Houndkirk Trail. About 100m after going through the gate, take the left turn at the junction (which you were at earlier on). This is Jumble Road, and has been the end to many a mountain-biker’s ride: take care! Through the gat at the bottom and onto the Sheephill Rd. Down this and right turn onto the A625.
About half a mile later, you will see a signposted bridleway to your left that leads down through the woods known as Blacka Moor: this is the start to the Devil’s Elbow. It starts off nicely enough, but don’t be fooled by first impressions. The pace will soon pick up, and quickly you will be faced by drop-offs and boulders aplenty. Hang on till the end, over the stream, right turn and ride back up to where you left your car. On the walk (you’ll be on an E-bike if you ride it) back up the hill, you can contemplate the merits of full-face helmets!
Start / Finish Location – two options … You can park in the layby on the Ringinglow Rd at the top of Lady Canning’s Plantation Sheffield (S10 4QN). This will afford you a downhill start and allow you to warm up a bit on the technical trails Lady Canning’s Plantation first. Alternatively park on the A625 layby at the top of Blacka Moor in the Stony Ridge Car Park. This will also afford you a steady start to the day’s adventure since your first off-road riding will be along the very friendly Houndkirk Trail.
Distance: 7 miles / 11 km
Height gain: 310m
Time required: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
How tough? If you are happy with the riding on the tough terrain (see below) this is a lovely short ride which shouldn’t tax the legs too much at all.
How technical? Most of this ride is nice easy riding, but Jumble Road which leads you down to the Sheephill Road, will certainly shake up the senses. The Devil’s Elbow is about as gnarly, steep and technical as any off-road mountain biking trail in the Peak District gets. Full suspension and/or body armour are recommended!
Nearest bike hire: The Bike Garage – Bamford/Hope Valley– This is the only bike hire in the Peak District that will be worthy of this ride and up to the task!
Local pubs we would recommend: The Norfolk Arms in Ringinglow is a super pub – really good local ales and great food. Perfect location too! (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. That said, Devil’s Elbow through Blacka Moor would justify a full-sus rig.
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 – the nearest and best cycle hire for this Sheffield MTB ride
- 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