Wild and desolate moorlands, warm and welcoming real ale pubs, dense emerald forests and the magnificent Pennine peaks – cycling the Pennine Cycleway is a beautiful adventure.
The founder of Sustrans John Grimshaw once called the Pennine Cycleway “the best National Cycle Network route of the lot, and you will quickly understand why. With stunning mountains, misty moors, tranquil lakes, geological wonders and heaps of historical monuments, you will find stunning spots around every corner.
However, the Pennine Cycleway is not for the fainthearted. Often considered to be the hardest long distance cycle route in the UK, you will climb a total of 7490 meters (24,573 feet) through the Pennine, at one point tackling four peaks within 20 miles (32 km)
Starting in the Peak District in Derby, the Pennine Cycleway covers 327 miles (526 km) along the “backbone of England” through spectacular scenery and four national parks – the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland, and the outskirts of the Lake District.
Following mostly quiet country lanes, you will often find yourself alone in nature with just your bike and your thoughts. As around 20% of the route follows unpaved cycle paths, cyclocross, touring or mountain bikes are best, although you can often find an alternative route on a main road to avoid muddy sections.
Although many of the stretches are very remote, you will still find plenty of riverside cafes, village bakeries, pubs and shops along the way to relax and refuel for your next miles.
This Collection will guide you through the Pennine Cycleway in twelve unique stages. If you are looking for a bigger challenge, you can lengthen the routes by combining the stages. Each section ends in a place with various accommodation options and often also a train station.
You can take the train directly from London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and other cities to Derby, the most central city in the UK and the starting point of the route. Don’t forget to reserve a place for your bike in advance, especially in summer when bike spaces are quickly snapped up.
As with all adventures, come well-prepared for your journey, and enjoy this incredible ride.
For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com/destinations/trains-to-derby
For more information on Derby including accommodation options, visit: visitderby.co.uk
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: December 9, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
Starting from the heart of the Peak District National Park from the historical city of Derby, your first stage of cycling the Pennine Cycleway will lead you through varied landscape – from industrial constructions, along quiet traffic-free trails and through rolling countryside.
Leaving Derby city centre…
Today, you will ride 30 miles (50 km) further through the history and nature of the Peak District National Park from Parsley Hay to Hadfield.
From Parsley Hay, the route continues along traffic-free cycle paths that gently rise and fall through the landscape before ascending into Harpur Hill. Take care…
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Vast reservoirs, hills blanketed by farmland and forests, and towns with an interesting cultural heritage – stage three of the Pennine Cycleway takes you 23.6 miles (38 km) deep into the South Pennine hills.
From Hadfield, you will take a former railway line towards the Woodhead reservoirs. Be prepared…
With 850 meters (2789 feet) of climbing, stage four is the toughest section of the Pennine Cycleway. However, the panoramic views over layers and layers of Pennine mountains makes it all worthwhile.
The day begins unspectacularly from Slaithwaite as you cross over the M62 via Scammonden Water dam. But…
Stage five will lead you along meandering rivers and peaceful canals, through sleepy villages and fertile farms into the wonderful Yorkshire Dales.
You will leave Brierfield via the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath and then head north away from the suburban jungle and into emerald fields. You will skirt…
Rocky crags, cavernous underground labyrinths, ancient woodland, former metal mines, cascading waterfalls, trickling streams and sweeping moors – the Yorkshire Dales is known for its wild and windswept landscapes. Stage six of the Pennine Cycleway will guide you through some of the areas' most spectacular…
Heading deeper into the Yorkshire Dales, stage seven of the Pennines cycleway is wild, adventurous and untamed nature. Today, you will ride 28 miles (45 km) from Sedburgh to Appleby-in-Westmorland.
Although the start of the route follows the M6 motorway, the small country lanes bordering the Lake District…
Long climbs leading to panoramic views, calm lakes, exhilarating descents, and quaint villages serving an abundance of cakes – stage eight of the Pennine Cycleway is tough but absolutely rewarding.
Today, you will climb 730 meters (2395) in total, reaching the highest point of the cycleway, Hartside…
On stage nine of your adventure cycling the Pennine Cycleway through fine landscape and fascinating history, you will visit antique railway stations, luscious meadows, mighty viaducts, and more.
Today, you have a leisurely ride with 160 meters (524 feet) spread out over 15 miles (25 km). As you leave…
Stage ten of your journey leads you deep into rural Britain and through the stunning, remote nature of the Northumberland National Park. You will cycle through ancient Roman ruins, archeological wonders, and forest-lined tracks with barely another soul in sight.
Having stocked up on supplies, you are…
Your eleventh stage of cycling the Pennine Cycleway leads you through the outskirts of the Northumberland National Park through spectacular nature and interesting sights from Elsdon to Wooler.
As soon as you start pedalling, you will find yourself surrounded by gorgeous countryside: trickling streams…
Ancient castles that witnessed border battles over one thousand years ago, gushing rivers that flow into the waters of the North Sea, and impressive bridges spanning between England and Scotland – the final stage of your journey along the Pennine Cycleway does not disappoint.
With the rambling hills…
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