High Peak Trail cycle route overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐
The High Peak Trail is an 18 mile traffic-free cycling route that follows the course of the old Cromford and High Peak Railway. Normally, trails along disused railway lines have gentle gradients, and most of the High Peak Trail is either flat, or has a very gentle slope. However, towards the start there’s a mile-long stretch called Sheep Pasture, which has a 15% gradient at its steepest point. There’s a second steep section that follows, at Middleton, which is half a mile long. That is less steep, and tops out at 10%. A third, and less steep again incline is called Hopton incline.
The route shown on the map starts at Cromford train station, and follows quiet lanes for a third of a mile, before veering off along the Cromford Canal towpath. Once the towpath gets to High Peak Junction, you will leave the canal, to follow the High Peak Trail itself.
The High Peak Trail joins with the Tissington Trail, and both trails can be cycled as one longer, completely traffic-free route.
All photos are by Steve.
Surface of the High Peak Trail
The surface is gravelly throughout, which will make tackling the two uphill sections more challenging. It is however a decent surface to cycle along, and that includes the short stretch of towpath.
Refreshments are available at Wheatcroft’s Warf, and at the end, in Pomeroy.
You can ride pretty much any type of bike along the High Peak Trail, but chunkier tyres will be more comfortable. Trikes and some cargo bikes may struggle along the towpath, because it’s quite narrow.
There are toilets at Wheatcroft’s Warf, at the High Peak Junction, at Black Rocks car park, at the Middleton Top Visitor Centre, at Parsley Hay and at the end, in Pomeroy.
You can hire bikes at the Middleton Top Visitor Centre, at Parsley Hay (where adapted cycles are available for hire, too)
Points of Interest
Have a look around at the Middleton Top Visitor Centre, where the old engine house still exists. Trains needed big steam engines by the side of the track to pull them up the steep incline.
Routes in Derbyshire
- Monsal Trail Traffic-free Cycle Route
- Tissington Trail Traffic-free Cycle Route
- High Peak Trail traffic-free cycle route
- Cloud Trail Traffic-free Cycle Route
There are no barriers on this route.
Refreshment stops: ⭐⭐
Forecast for the High Peak Trail
What the High Peak Trail looks like
Getting to the High Peak Trail
For an excellent car-free day out, you can get to the trail by train, from Cromford train station. If arriving by train, you will have the two steep uphills to contend with.
Parking for the High Peak Trail
For most people, the only other option is to arrive by car. There are car parks at Hurdlow, at Parsley Hay, at Friden, at Minninglow, at Harboro Rocks, in Middleton and at Cromford Wharf.
If driving there, and you want to avoid the steep uphills, park no further east than Middleton Top.
DayCycle routes are routes can can easily be cycled by most people in a day, or part of a day. Do have a look at all the other DayCycle routes available on WillCycle. Many contain detailed route guides, as well as embedded maps (like the one below) from which you can download the GPX file for the route.