Download the free GPS route for this Peak District classic
This route has a classic Dark Peak feel to it that belies its proximity to the sprawling metropolis of Greater Manchester.
Distance: 25km (16 miles)
Download the .gpx file by clicking the map headline below.
It starts easy enough, following good trails that hug the banks of the River Goyt. But it doesn’t wait long before it starts to climb, and once it does, it ups the ante considerably, with a challenging mix of steep tarmac and techie gritstone.
But the downs make the effort worthwhile — first on sandy singletrack and then on a gem of a trail that really rock ‘n’ rolls.
From Rowarth it’s up again for bit, but it’s not all over yet and the final drop, from the golf course back into the valley, is a real peach — steep, narrow, twisty and rough, with plenty of steps to get those front wheels lofted.
Start from the car park at Roman Lakes (OS110/SJ969878). This is near Marple, on the A626, just east of Stockport (M60 junction 27). From Marple, follow the A6101 to the point where it bears sharp right, and go left onto Oldknow Road. Cross Arkwright Road and take Faywood Drive, which becomes a very rough drive that leads into Roman Lakes Leisure Park.
Rail access from Marple.
Best time to go
Mainly rocky surfaces that stand up quite well to the demands of winter apart from the odd patch of standing water. The opening trail, along the Goyt Valley, can get busy with horses and walkers.
The Little Mill Inn in Rowarth is ideally placed for mid-ride refreshments, or there’s the Devonshire Arms in Mellor.
Great tea rooms and snack bar at Roman Lakes.
The Little Mill Inn at Rowarth is well worth returning to for a post-ride pint.
Loads of accommodation in the surrounding area — check with the TIC: Glossop TIC, 01457 855920.
How about the classic Cut Gate Hard route?
Maps and guidebooks
Memory Map V5 OS Landranger (1:50,000)
OS Landranger Series (1:50,000) 110 Sheffield & Huddersfield
OS Explorer Series (1:25,000) OL1 The Peak District; Dark Peak Area
The cafe at Roman Lakes publishes its own route guide to the area.