Ladybower, Derwent and Howden reservoir circuit.

Tracks, minor roads, reservoirs and moors …

Park at the southern end of Ladybower reservoir, on the A57 just before the viaduct. Cycle over the viaduct (cycle track on northern side – extreme care needed when crossing the A57 Snake Pass road), turn right at the end of this and take the reservoir road. Follow this the whole way round (about 16 miles). At the very northern end, pass through a gate and continue along the unmetalled rough track. Cross the pack horse bridge, a good place to take in the atmosphere of the moorlands; follow the track back south behind the trees initially to your starting point. This route presents few difficulties (although there are 3 inclined sections with loose stones/rough surface which need a little care – though now they have been sanitised and are a lot smoother) and would probably be suitable for novice off roaders and less confident riders. It is easy enough, with a little fore-thought, to get off and walk the steeper sections. At Fairholmes, the track re-joins a tarmac road for a while. Just about at the point where the drowned village of Derwent lies under the waters of the reservoir, the road ends abruptly (and a little steeply) so please take care. The rest of the way back to the parking place on the A57 is on a rough surfaced service track. As with the first section off the tarmac, it steepens in a few places so be ready for that – there are many walkers and this section is popular with families with young children.

It is best tackled on a mountain bike but I have seen people using their touring bikes and hybrids. Alternatively park at Fairholmes car park at the head of Ladybower Reservoir and do the circuit from there. This also allows you to easily shorten it to about 9 miles by just cycling round Derwent (Click here for pictures) and Howden (click here for pictures) reservoirs. There is a cycle hire centre at Fairholmes (called Derwent Cycle Hire – run by the County Council) with a snack bar, toilets, seating and ducks to feed.