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Bikepacking the Peak District and Pennines — Escape Routes UK

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Bikepacking the Peak District and Pennines — Escape Routes UK

Bike Touring Collection by ORTLIEB waterproof

6-11

days

3-5 h

/ day

234 mi

24,425 ft

23,650 ft

From the Peak District National Park to the Pennine Hills, this seven-stage bikepacking Collection takes in some of the most incredible landscapes and trails in Central and Northern England.

From Nottingham, in the heart of England, you’ll ride along the ancient Derbyshire Portway, travel up the eastern side of the Dark Peak on the Peak 200 route and skirt the rural fringes of Manchester. You’ll then follow the Pennine Bridleway across the open vistas of the Yorkshire Pennines into the glorious Yorkshire Dales National Park and finish in the town of Kirkby Stephen.

Looking for more? Continue to follow the Great North Trail all the way to Cape Wrath at the most north-westerly tip of Scotland!

Although covering the whole route in seven days (or even less) is best for more experienced bikepackers, thanks to the many train stations along or close to the route, you can easily pick a few stages to try as a beginner or novice rider too. There are plenty of accommodation options along the way, if camping out under canvas isn't your cup of tea. Do make sure you book ahead though, as in these gorgeous rural settings they can often get fully booked, especially in the summer months.

From Nottingham to the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, this escape route offers the best of both worlds: the chance to explore a huge variety of landscapes without having to spend too much time to travel to anywhere exotic. Make it as wild or as easy as you like, with many towns and interesting sites along the way to stop by and learn more about 'God's Own County'.

To tackle this route, the best bike will be either a gravel bike with wide tyres (40mm plus), a rigid or hardtail mountain bike. There's a real mix of waytypes and surfaces along the route, from quiet, smooth tarmac on back country lanes to some pretty rocky bridleways, so be prepared! MTB-type pedals or flat shoes are highly recommended for when you might need to hop off and push, as there are some seriously steep short segments along the way too. In terms of packing kit, your best bet is lightweight bikepacking-style bags that strap directly to the frame, and make sure they’re waterproof too as the weather can be changeable in these parts!

The great network of railways and stations mean that the best way to access either end of this route is by train, with a major station in Nottingham and a station in Kirkby Stephen. Along the route, stations are also close-by in Belper, Wirksworth, Grindleford, Bamford, Edale, Dinting, Hadfield, Greenfield, Smithy Bridge, Walsden, Long Preston, Settle and Ribblehead. Do check in advance if you'll need to book your bike a space on the train before you travel.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    03:56
    29.7 mi
    7.6 mph
    2,400 ft
    1,975 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Start your bikepacking trip in the Midlands, from the central Nottingham train station. It's an easy start, riding out of the city on a cycle path alongside the Nottingham Canal. …

  • Difficult
    07:15
    48.1 mi
    6.6 mph
    4,875 ft
    4,775 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Buckle up for the most incredible day in the saddle, taking in some iconic Peak District trails and gorgeous stone villages. You'll need to pack your climbing legs for this …

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  • Difficult
    03:53
    24.6 mi
    6.3 mph
    3,075 ft
    3,175 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    On this third stage, cross the national park to the west, joining the Pennine Bridleway to skirt the edge of Manchester.

    Start with a gentle climb from Bamford back towards …

  • Difficult
    04:49
    28.3 mi
    5.9 mph
    3,650 ft
    3,550 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Stage 4 continues on the Pennine Bridleway, which affords some of the very best riding that this area has to offer and a lot of climbing and descending! The route …

  • Difficult
    04:47
    27.3 mi
    5.7 mph
    3,675 ft
    3,550 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This fifth stage crosses from Yorkshire into the county of Lancashire and will certainly feel more easy going than previous stages, with some of the most spectacular sections of the …

  • Difficult
    04:31
    29.6 mi
    6.5 mph
    2,825 ft
    2,900 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This penultimate stage takes you to the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, leaving Lancashire’s scenic moorland behind in favour of Three Peaks CX territory - a world renowned …

  • Difficult
    06:43
    46.1 mi
    6.9 mph
    3,950 ft
    3,750 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Ready yourself for some spectacular scenery and ancient roman rock roads on this final stage to Kirby Stephen, rounding off your seven stage tour.

    Leaving quaint Stainforth behind, take lanes …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    234 mi
  • Duration
    35:53 h
  • Elevation
    24,425 ft23,650 ft
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Bikepacking the Peak District and Pennines — Escape Routes UK