Secret peaks

These loops avoid the honeypots. They may lack the drama of the stuff around Ladybower and Edale but you’re a lot less likely to have your spirit dampened by the crowds.

>>> Five great routes in Wales that aren’t Snowdon, The Gap or Cadair flippin’ Idris

1. Doctor’s Gate, Peak District

16km/10 miles
Ride time: 2 hours
Why ride it? Techie challenge and a good climb
Where to eat? Plenty of choice in Glossop

Doctor’s Gate is a super-techie singletrack that sees few tyre tracks. It’s a pretty extreme loop all round. Firstly, it starts with a 300m road climb and you might be wishing you were wearing lycra and had skinny tyres. And then descends on over 3km of quite sublime, as well as difficult, singletrack. Start at Glossop Railway Station (Landranger110/SK035943), and take A57 over the Snake Pass and down for 1km. Turn L onto a waymarked BW and keep SA at a x-roads with the Pennine Way to descend, at times very technically for around 3km. A fast track then takes you into Old Glossop where you finish on road.

2. Eastern Moors

20km/12 Miles
Ride time: 2 hours
Why ride it? An easy but spectacular ride on some great, well-surfaced trails
Where to eat? Cafe in Longshaws Estate

Brilliantly executed advocacy work by Ride Sheffield has opened up some great trails to bikes, resulting in this little loop – the easiest in this selection. Start at Longshaws (Landranger 110/SK265789) and head N on the A625 to the fork, where a trail leads E onto Totley Moor. to At SK284795, head S (not marked on map) to the B6054, bear R for 500m, then L onto a another track that leads S then SW, before eventually looping back over the A621 to Ramsley Reservoir. Take the road W then the track up to Wellington’s Monument. Now head N on a good track to the A625, where a BW takes over to the road. Stay on tarmac to finish.

3. Meltham Moor

27km/17 Miles
Ride time: 3-4 hours
Why ride it? Some great trails and a real gritty feel.
Where to eat? Huntsman Inn, Harden Hill

The northern extremes of the national park see way fewer visitors than the honeypots further south. But there’s some fun riding if you know where to look. From Meltham (Landranger 110/SE101106) – head NW out of town towards Marsden, then, almost immediately, loop NE then N to the Blackmoorfoot Reservoir. Head SW on BWs back to the road, and turn R to follow this towards Marsden, keeping S of the A42 to follow a good track SE past Butterley Reservoir, Wessenden Reservoir and on up to Wessenden Head. Take the main road L until you can turn R (SW) onto a rocky drop. This loops E to join the road above the Digley Reservoir, where you climb NW back to the main road. Finish with a great descent N back to Meltham.

4. Goyt Valley

26km/16 miles
Ride time: 3-4 hours
Why ride it? Some great trails and easy to get to
Where to eat? Great cafe at Roman Lakes

OK, we start in a popular place, but you are on the edge of Stockport, and it doesn’t take long to pedal away from the throng and get some trails and views all to yourself. From Roman Lakes (Landranger 110/SJ969878), head SE down the Goyt Valley, following the railway line, and continue SE on the B6101. Loop S around the Paper Mill, then N to cross the road again west of Lee Mills. At Brook Bottom, head E, NE then NNE to Blake Hall, then E past Aspenshaw Hall to a junction W of Lantern Pike. Head N then E to Rowarth then jink N to Plainsteads. Head W over Cown Edge and at Ludworth, pick up lanes and trails that wind loosely S to Mellor. S then W through Tarden to finish.

5. Linacre Reservoirs

27km/17 Miles
Ride time: 3-4 hours
Why ride it? Fun riding way out east.
Where to eat? The Gate Inn at Cutthorpe

Tucked away at the extreme E of the National Park, in the shadow of Chesterfield, this loop offers some surprisingly good riding. Start at the reservoirs (Landranger 119/SK336727), and head N to the road, E to Cutthorpe and N on lane and BW through Barlow to Barlow Lees. Head W to Brindwoodgate, NW to Cartledge, then loop S then N on a BW to Holmesfield Common. Follow lanes SW to Bank Green, then W then S on a good BW to SK293747. Head E on lanes then S on BWs through Grange Lumb Farm, continuing S on more lanes and more BWs to Wigley. More BWs lead E past Frith Hall and Westwick Farm and at SK347715, head NW back past the reservoirs.