This compact mountain biking route in the Hope Valley area of the Peak District is superb! It’s takes in some of the most famous and best bits in the Peaks: There’s the almost impossible climb up Jacob’s Ladder (rumoured to have been cleaned by Nick Criag); the descent under the Roych; the steps of Rushup Edge; and then then descent off Mam Tor. Don’t let the distance fool you it’s a hard route full of technical challenges not suited to beginers but for those with the skills it’s awesome!
Edale or Hayfiled are the best places to begin this little adventure. This loop is described as an anti-clockwise one but could be ridden the other way round however would suggest doing it this way first time round to make the most of the descent under the Roych.
Starting in Edale head east to Barber Booth, then on to Upper Booth and onto the Pennine Bridleway. As you enter The Cloughs you can’t really see the first challenge of the day: Jacob’s Ladder. There is a ford to cross first then a loose rocky section take you to the first corner. After that it get a bit easier until you hit the next corner and the gradient increases substantialy. Clean that bit and then it gets even steeper with some well placed rocky to stop you getting to the top. Good Luck!
If you like rocks then you’ll be in heven with the descent off the back side, just hold on tight and let go of the brakes.
There is an option to extend the ride here and take in Hayfield by heading north to Kinder Reservoir after about 1.5km (GR: 064861), this can be muddy so choose a dry day.
After what seems like an eternal rock garden you eventually hit a road where you’ll need to turn back on yourself, to the left, staying on the bridleway and then tackle a monster of a climb. There is a little descent which brings you to a cross road, turn right heading south on the Pennine Bridleway climbing some more until the trail eventually gives way to what has to be the fasted descent in the Peaks. The Roych has lots of rocks and swopping banked corners which are a joy to ride and the reason for doing this route in anti-clockwise.
You’ll end up at a ford which can be ridden in dry conditions and then it’s time to climb again! Bit steep to begin with and then get uber technical. Pick your line right and give it some grunt and you may well clear the lot. There are some big natural steps to tackle, if you stay in the river bed and clear the lots you are indeed a a gifted rider.
This brings you out by on the Sheffield Road at which point you peel off to the left and stay on the bridleway. Eventually you will come to the vantage point called Lord’s Seat. Stop here and enjoy the view because soon you’ll be dropping back into Edale and the ride will be over.
When you’re ready stick to the bridleway which brings you back onto the Sheffield Road. Cross over taking the bridlway heading up Mam Tor to you right. After some testing ruts you join the pavement descending the ridge to Hollins Cross. The last descent of the day now; the path on the left has a few drops the path on the right has a few ruts; I prefer the one on the left. At the bottom re-join the road and head back to Edale. Awesome-ness!