The Derwent Valley is a mecca for cyclists, particularly families and mountain bikers. However, it also suffers from congestion and poor air quality because of the large numbers of people driving there, with or without bikes on the back.
This is a route you can take with your family from Bamford Station, on the Hope Valley line up to Fairholmes Car Park. Northern has a flexible policy on cycle carriage – two bikes is the norm but you can get more on at quiet times. The trains are lightly used off-peak during the week and in the evening but can be busy at weekends.
If you’d rather not take the bikes with you on the train, you can hire bikes at Fairholmes and there are regular buses between the two.
Leaving the station on westbound side turn right (busy road) cross the bridge and proceed towards Bamford village. Take the second left and pass the playground (could be a useful stop if you have kids with you.) Further along is the Quaker community, and an entrance to the right takes you on a bridleway (this was the former railway used to build the dams) Follow this all the way up – NCN6 will join you – until you get to the first dam (Ladybower) dismount and cross the dam, (NCN6 then leaves you) then turn left and take the shared use pavement to Yorkshire Bridge. Here you have a choice of routes – you can continue on the pavement, crossing the busy A57, and then turn right onto the road leading up to Fairholmes. This is used by motor vehicles and has a 40mph limit, so if you do not feel confident taking kids along here, turn right at the bridge and take the track through a car park on the eastern side of the bridge. This has very little traffic. Take the left turn just before the second dam to get to Fairholmes, or continue to the swimming hole at Slippery Stones. If you get all the way round your kids should sleep well on the train on the way home!