Ashbourne Gravel Ride Brief

25th November 2021

Starting in Ashbourne on the Tissington Trail heading north for 14 miles on a steady gradient of 2% you reach Parsley Hay.

Parsley Hay: toilets, cafe, bike shop.

From Parsley Hay now on the High Peak Trail still heading North for about 3 miles. Then we take a right turn on to the Pennine Way which is a mix of tarmac roads and gravel lanes traversing across to the start of the Monsal Trail just south of Buxton. Before reaching the Monsal Trail are two downhill sections. The first is a farm track which can be rutted and is fairly steep. The second is a wide single track that is hard packed stone and quite rough in places. Usually ending with a nice smell of burning brakes.

Now onto the Monsal Trail which has a steady downward gradient (1%) all the way to Bakewell. Just before reaching Bakewell on the trail there is a station called Hassop Station.

Hassop Station: toilets, cafe

Upon reaching Bakewell we stay on the Monsal Trail to the very end and turn left up Coombs Road which is a gravel road heading towards Matlock. At the end of this road we take the left trail dropping us down to Rowsley on the A6. Turn left on the A6 over the Derwent River and tale the next right, then right again onto the cycle path that runs parallel to the A6 all the way into Matlock, and then onto Matlock Bath, where we have lunch at the Fish & Chip Shop.

From Matlock Bath we pick up the Cromford Canal. NOTE Walkers have priority on this canal towpath. Heading down the canal until we reach the wooden swing bridge and a cafe at High Peak Junction.

High Peak Junction: cafe, toilets

This is the start of the High Peak Trail, directly behind the cafe is the first of the two climbs. An average of 16% for 3/4 of a mile, followed by about a mile before the second climb again of 16% for about 1/2 a mile. At the top of the second climb is a cafe and toilets, shortly followed by the third and final climb which is not that steep or long. Now on the High Peak Trail it is mostly flat with a very slight gradient heading back to meet the Tissington Trail just south of Parsley Hay.

Turn left back onto the Tissington Trail and enjoy the 2% downhill gradient for the last 14 mile back into Ashbourne.

In Summary

This is a 6 to 7 hour ride at a nice steady pace. The first 17 miles is a steady uphill at 2%, which is not much but you do start to feel it. So a nice easy pace to start.

Plenty of places to top up your water bottles or grab some food and a coffee. Toilets every few miles. The trails are hardpacked mostly and quite fast flowing. The trails tend to have some surface water in places especially on the High peak Trail. The Monsal Trail is the busiest with walkers so a bell maybe useful. Also the Monsal Trail has a number of tunnels, these are dimly lit but you do not need lights to see as the tunnels are not that long. However lights to be seen by other users would be good.