You can get to Derby by the National Cycle Network (York to Derby) – but it’s a bit of a long way round via Worksop & Nottingham, and you might indeed wonder why you are heading east to go South – that route does however follow the flattest route avoiding major towns. Another way to get there is to head for Parsley Hey and take the Pennine Cycleway, also known as the Tissington Trail at this point, down to Ashbourne.
However, this route takes you up into the high ground of North-East Derbyshire, before releasing that energy in a fast descent to the Derwent valley – going the other way, you would find it a steady climb followed by an exhilarating descent into Sheffield. There’s a fair bit of up and down in either direction of course, and if you have a choice of starting points it might be an idea to check which way the wind’s blowing before you set off. Either way, it’s a great day’s ride, with regular East Midlands and Arriva XC trains between Sheffield and Derby to get you home – if you’ve still got some energy, you could always turn round and ride right back again, or make it a circular ride either via the Pennine Cycleway or Route 6 through Nottingham.
Sheffield to Derby the pretty way:-
You need to be heading in a southwesterly direction as you leave Sheffield. There are two main options here – a quieter route through Holmesfield, or the main drag of Abbeydale Rd.
If you take the long shot along Abbeydale Rd, you will climb up to Owler Bar. Stay on the Baslow road & hang a left at Clodhall Lane,(the Curbar turning), up to the back of Pudding Pie Hill & right at the Xroads, then follow your nose (OS map 119 helps) along the ridge keeping Chesterfield below to the left. It’s a Balcony route, with fantastic views to both left and right.
The run goes Beeley Moor, Jaggers Lane, Top of Slack, Crich, Bull Bridge, Heage (look out for the working windmill) then head for Ripley. Immediately after the A38 bridge turn right onto Denby Street Lane & go Kilburn, Horsley, which is basically the line of the Ryknield Street Roman road & Coxbench, becoming the B6179 immediately after you go under the A38, and there are cycle lanes down to Little Eaton where the route goes onto the pavement for NCN Route 54, a stress-free ride following the river into Derby City Centre – watch for kingfishers.
Update: 14/8/2019 The riverside route past Derby Industrial Museum (Silk Mill) is currently closed due to a refurb of the museum.
There is some cycling information & parking available at the Pride Park exit from Derby Station, as well as the main entrance.
Suggested refreshment spots:
Cath Cafe Riber View (closed for August 2019)
Cliff Inn, Crich (near the tram museum) Old Post Office Tea Shop, Crich
The Tap, The Smithfield, Alexandra Hotel & Brunswick Inn, Derby (all close to the station)
Rutland Arms, Sheffield (just past what used to be the National Centre for Popular Music, or “kettles”)
From Derby you can continue on NCN route 6 to Melbourne, Loughborough and Leicester, or return via the Pennine Cycleway to Parsley Hey as mentioned above, or head for Nottingham.
From Sheffield you can get on to the Trans-Pennine Trail to Leeds, York, Manchester, Liverpool & Hull.