Ladybower and Derwent Cycle Route

Notes about the route

All map references are taken from Ordnance Survey Explorer OL1, which covers the Dark Peak area of the Peak District.

All grid references are on sheet SK.

The route starts and finishes at the car park at SK1870087600

The route is either 20 miles or 26 miles depending on a choice after the visitor center. The 26 mile route is very hard, and is often not possible during summer because of fire risk.

For an easy ride set out north, along the road, from the car park and pick up the route at step 6. Then at the end choose the directions for the 20 mile route.


  1. From the car park at SK1870087600 head south to a bridlepath at SK1900087025
  2. Turn right (west) and climb the bridlepath through the farm (Crookhill Farm) at SK1862586875
  3. Shortly after the farm the bridlepath turns northwards. Continue past a bridlepath to the east at SK1707588500
  4. Continue north-westerly to a fork at SK1637589050
  5. Turn right (NNW) for a long descent to the road at SK1667591050
  6. Turn left (west) and follow the road around spur of Derwent Reservoir. Continue (north) past Howden Dam, spur of Howden Reservoir and rain gauge. Continue to roundabout at end of road at SK1677093880
  7. Continue ahead onto track. Cross the ford and join the bridleway at SK1679094040
  8. Stay on the bridleway, fording the River Derwent at SK1690095120
  9. Shortly after the ford head south on the bridleway at SK1695095200
  10. Continue past the spur of Howden Reservoir, Howden Dam and the Derwent/Ladybower Dam, until the bridleway joins a road at SK1749589450
  11. You can detour to the visitor centre by heading nnw past the base of the dam. The visitor centre has toilets, food and drink. Continue the route by heading sse to a permitted bridleway at SK1855088700
  12. The permitted bridleway continues to SK1870088400 where it forks. For the short (20 mile) route take the right hand (sse) bridleway to the A57, turn right, cross the reservoir, turn right and return to the car park.
  13. For the long (26 mile) route take the left (east) bridleway upwards and continue past a footpath at SK1985088380
  14. Continue on the bridleway, turning east at SK1980087400
  15. The bridleway heads east and then loops back to the southwestaround SK2130087500
  16. The bridleway roughly parallels the A57 and joins it at SK1950086400
  17. Cross the reservoir, turn right and return to the car park


Thanks to Jon Pritchard for these:

A view over the valley from (possibly) the highest part of the ride:
Derwent Valley
Me just about to reach the highest part of the ride:
Lung-busting climb
One of the dams on the route. These were used for filming "The Dam Busters" movie:
The bridge near SK1690095120:
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