Ride-Up: Hope Valley Watershed

Long story short

A fun 22 mile loop with 3,200ft of climbing starting at Hope carpark. 8.5 miles on road, 22.3 miles off road. Six really good descents (swoopy jumpy dh, Mick’s Jagger, Beyond Jaggers DH, Dirklow Rake DH, Pindale DH, Enduro: Offerton). One get off and push section (0.5 miles 348ft) due to it being overgrown. One technical climb (Rock dash climb (no dabs)).

Review

The goal of this article is to provide riders from inside and outside of the Peak District with an idea of where to ride should they come for a day trip or longer. This ride was taken from the ‘Peak District Mountain Biking Dark Peak Trails’ book by Jon Barton (Hope Valley Watershed, Page 79), I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone who rides in the Peaks. My overall feel for the ride was good although the last 7.5 miles felt like a bit of a drag partly due to the hike-a-bike from Bradwell to Brough Lane.

The ride starts at Hope Car park, as you can see to the right I have attached prices for the parking. I paid for 2-4 hours to make sure I had enough time on the clock if I ran into any trouble on the ride this was the perfect amount of time.

Once parked and riding there is a 1.1 mile stretch of road towards Win Hill climbing 300 feet, this is a nice warm up because there is plenty of climbing to come! This road section leads onto a bridleway that contains technical rocky climbs, wide grassy areas and narrow rutted sections before reaching its peak and leading to the fast flowy descent known as ‘swoopy jumpy dh’ on Strava.

At this point in the ride I was feeling strong, the descent from Win Hill is a very fast fun one that always puts a smile on my face, the next key section is the climb to Hope Cross (An area where four good trails meet) then onto Jaggers. The climb to the top known on Strava as ‘Rock dash climb (no dabs)’ is a rocky, slippy, technical climb with seven log steps scattered along it. This section can be made easy if you maintain speed, pop the front wheel over the step and pull the back wheel over the obstacle. With the few stone slabs you shouldn’t have a problem with them unless it’s raining, in that case keep your weight slightly over the back for traction and steadily pedal through it without being too aggressive as the back wheel will spin out.

At this point in the ride I stopped for a drink and a snack, the weather was slightly foggy and I could feel the rain coming in and didn’t want to stop for too long.

At the top of the climb the route takes a left and goes down Jaggers Clough, this is a fast rocky descent that is very fun. Please note that Jaggers is a Bridleway and you can/will at some point meet a walker so keep your eyes open!

After the descent you come to a river crossing that you can ride through but be sure to drop all of your gears because it’s a steep climb out of the other side of Jaggers again with steps in, it is possible to ride around all of these steps though and the climb is worth it.

From here it’s all downhill (almost) to the road along the section Beyond Jaggers DH, look out for sheep as the bridleway is through farmers fields but is a steep rocky path. A short road section for 2.3 miles passing through the village of Edale that has a cafe called The Penny Pot, well worth a stop as they have bike parking around the back along with benches.

  

After the road section was over I found myself climbing up to Hollins Cross, this is a nice climb that gets very steep and loose towards the end but is well worth it, unfortunately it was very foggy when I was riding but on a clear day the view is incredible.

 

Next it was time to follow the bridleway to the road then follow it to Dirklow Rake DH, this is a very fast loose downhill that always puts a smile on my face. After that it was time for Pindale DH, again a fast loose descent that gets rocky towards the middle, these two descents combine to make Black Rabbit, 1.2 miles of descending over 615ft, awesome.

I am now 14.5 miles into the ride and 2 hours in (Including photo stoppage time) so I stopped at Bradwell for a snack and drink, the route goes past a local shop and is worth a stop if you need a snack. The next section was the worst part of the ride in my opinion, it’s a climb from Bradwell to Brough Lane via a very overgrown and rutted bridleway. I ended up hiking half a mile and almost 400ft due to the path being too overgrown. I did get a nice picture of the quarry halfway up though.

Finally at Brough Lane I was back on the bike and only had around 7 miles left to cover, I was starting to tire due to having to hike from Bradwell and personally wouldnt say this section is worth doing if you come up that way. A better option would be to ride along the blue section I have posted below, this is much more rideable and makes the next section worth it.

The last notable section of this ride is Enduro: Offerton, this section involves three minor climbs and four fast descents across gravel tracks, grassy paths and finally a steep road. From here is it a quick blast on the A6187 back to Hope for some well earned food and a drink.

In Hope you will find a number of places for food including:

Cafe Adventure

Very good food with Wi-Fi and good coffee, I stopped for a coffee and flapjack after this ride.

The Old Hall

Hope also has a bike shop, 18 bikes they provide a friendly service along with demo bikes should you fancy a play on a new bike.

To finish off I would say this ride is a good one for anyone wanting a lot of climbing with fast descents and has 2-4 hours to ride. I would highly recommend taking the blue section I suggested instead of the overgrown bridleway at Bradwell. I took four Jive bars and 750ml of water with me for this ride and that was the perfect amount.

Link to my Strava activity for this ride: https://www.strava.com/activities/1167668267/overview

You should be able to export this ride as a GPX through clicking on the wrench icon then use it for yourself to do this ride, alternatively, there are free GPX’s available to download from the Dialled MTB GPX Files page.

Link to the Dark Peak Trails book (I highly recommend this book): https://www.v-publishing.co.uk/books/categories/mountain-biking/peak-district-mountain-biking.html

Hopefully you enjoyed this Ride-Up and I look forward to doing more in the future!

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