Three Shires Head, Peak District — British wild swim spots
Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)
Mountain Biking Highlight
Bike Touring Highlight (Segment)
Includes a segment in which cycling is forbidden
You will have to dismount and push your bike.
Katherine Moore planned a mountain bike ride.
April 29, 2020
Clear, peaty-fresh water tumbles down over the small waterfalls and into deeper plunge pools, here the River Dane passes under the lovely Grade II listed packhorse bridge that marks the boundaries of Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire. Three Shires Head is not only a lovely place to enjoy a picnic in the Peak District not far from Buxton, but also a great place to swim. On this Tour, you’ll certainly benefit from a mountain bike rather than a gravel or cyclo-cross bike, as there are a fair few rough and rocky bridleways on the route. It’s a loop from the historic spa town of Buxton, made popular thanks to it’s warm thermal springs, starting and ending at the railway station for easy access if you’re visiting by train.The Three Shires Head swimming spot comes roughly halfway through the route, after 15 miles (24.3 km) of the total 30.8 mile (49.6 km) route. Therefore, it’s best on a really hot day, so that you can dry off well before tackling the second half of the ride without getting too cold! Other highlights along the route include the old coach road heading out of Buxton, Charity Lane in the Macclesfield Forest, Cumberland Clough and part of the White Peak Loop mountain biking route. They vary from wide and easy gravel roads that are rideable on wide tyre fitted road bikes like the White Peak Loop section that is also part of the Pennine Cycleway, right through to technical, stepped and rough singletrack descents like the bridleway crossing the River Dove valley, where you’ll be glad of suspension! You’ll follow a few quiet linking lanes in between these brilliant off-road segments and minimal busy roads. Make sure you bring your climbing legs, as it’s anything but flat with some 3,608 feet (1,100 m) of climbing over day, often with some rather steep gradients where you might need to hop off and push. It’s also super easy to shorten the route if you feel you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, or prefer to spend longer hanging out at the swimming spot. Simply ride back into Buxton from the end of the White Peak Loop segment to cut off the most eastern loop, saving yourself 6.2 miles (10 km).