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Ashbourne - Matlock (17 miles)


Overview
This is an easy and enjoyable ride which takes you along the Tissington Trail to the attractive village of Tissington. Cycling away from the trail takes you along quiet country lanes through ancient Bradbourne to the banks of Carsington Water. A climb away from Hopton takes you through attractive woodland to join the Pennine Bridleway to the viewpoint at Middleton Top. Continuing along the trail takes you to spectacular Black Rocks with amazing views over Matlock & Riber Castle. A great decent through more deciduous woodland takes down into Cromford & onto Matlock Bath & Matlock.

0 Miles - From Bramhalls turn R down the hill & take the 1st R. Turn L following signs for Tissington Trail Cycle Hire Centre & rejoin the trail, stay on the trail until Tissington.

4 Miles - At Tissington turn off to the L. The village is worth a visit & has a tea rooms (01335 350 501) which is open 10.30  17.00 during the spring & summer.

Most famous for the ancient festival of well dressing , Tissington draws many people in the middle of May to witness the impressive folk art produced by local people. Well dressing is the art of decorating springs and wells with pictures made from local plant life. The dressings are set in clay-filled wooden trays, mounted on a wooden frame. The custom is said to date to pagan times as a form of water worship & was banned by the early Christians, however well dressing still survives.

Home to the FitzHerbert family for over 500 years, Tissington Hall is an impressive stately home with a wealth of interesting artwork, furnishings & architectural features tracing the times of the family. The hall is open to the public 28th May  31st June and 24th July  24th August Tue  Fri 13.30  16.00.

St Marys Church dates back to Norman times & features a 2 decker pulpit, a Norman font and many monuments to the Fitzherbert family.

4.2 Miles - When you leave the village, go back towards the trail but stay on the narrow country lane (Darfield Lane) and continue through the Estate.

You can also stop for cream teas at Bassett Wood Farm (01335 350254) just outside the village (you will see the sign from Darfield Lane).

As you continue through the Estate take care when the road drops sharply & crosses a number of cattle grids.

5.7 Miles - At the bottom of the steep hill the road crosses a Ford (stream) you can cross the stream using the small bridge to the L or try crossing the stream without getting your feet wet!

At the main road (B5056) turn L towards Bakewell , Ballidon & Longcliffe. Watch out for traffic as there can be trucks passing to Ballidon quarry.

5.8 Miles - Turn R to Bradbourne and continue up the hill to the village.

Bradbourne, which means Broad stream is an ancient village which was already well established at the time of the Domesday Book. For more than 300 years the monks at Dunstable Priory grazed their sheep on the land around Bradbourne.

The Church of All Saints is mostly Norman, but there are some earlier Saxon sections of the building.Some of the wall hangings in the church date to the 17th & 18th centuries. The churchyard contains a Saxon cross dating to 800 AD & a scene of the crucifixtion. Also found in the churchyard is the gravestone of Nat Gould who was a famous writer, by 1919 he had written over 130 horse racing novels.

Also worthy of note in the village are the Elizabethan manor house Bradbourne Hall (private), with its 3 gable & terraced gardens & the Old Parsonage which has an unusual appearance as it was built in three completely different styles.

6.4 Miles - Pass through the village & turn R at the sign to Carsington & Kniveton.
Stay on this winding road until you reach a T-jcn at the B5035.

8.0 Miles - Watch out for traffic & cross straight over the road onto the bridleway marked by the Route 54A sign. Follow down to the visitor centre.

Carsington Water is a man made reservoir opened by the Queen in 1992. The reservoir blends in well with the surrounding countryside & is pleasant to cycle round. There are many options for activities on the lake such as sailing, Kayaking & Canoeing. There is also a good visitor centre with a shop & restaurant.

From (facing) the visitor centre take the track to the L following signs for the Wildlife Centre & Sheepwash.

9.4 Miles - When you pass Sheepwash car park you will reach a small road. Turn L here towards the main road B5035 (still on route 54A). At the main road go L then immediately R (watch for traffic) down the road marked Except for Access. Continue through the small village of Carsington.

10.1 Miles - Pass through Hopton & turn L opposite Home Farm (still following the route 54A sign) This is a tricky climb which passes through a small woodland.

11.0 Miles - When you reach the road cross straight over (watch for traffic) and continue along route 54A bridleway.

12.0 Miles - Pass the viewpoint at Middleton Top. There is a cycle Hire centre here and also the Middleton Top winding engine room which was used to pull the carriages up the steep incline along the High Peak Railway. Continue along the trail to Black Rocks.

13.2 Miles - Arrive Black Rocks. There is often an ice cream van parked in the car park here & the rock itself is worth a look. You will need to lock your bikes & walk along the steep path to the R. You can climb to the top of the interesting rock face to see a fantastic view over the valley below.

Continue along the trail past Black Rocks which also offers fantastic views to your L. You will be able to see Wibbersley Hall  built for the industrial pioneer Richard Arkwright. You will also be able to see Riber Castle overlooking Matlock.

13.9 Miles - Pass through a gate which descends down a wooded track. Part way down this track you will need to turn off to the R to briefly join the Midshires Way. Be careful not to miss this track (opposite the small black plaque). Follow the track down to the L under the small bridge & follow the track down.

14.2 Miles - The track turns into a small road (Intake Lane). Follow all the way down to join the busy A6.

14.5 Miles - At the main road (A6) go L & follow the road through Matlock Bath to Matlock. This is a busy road so take extra care.

Matlock Bath has been referred to as the Blackpool of the Peak because there are many tourists at the weekends, souvenir shops, cafes, amusements etc. There is a cable car ride called The Heights of Abraham which goes up to a hilltop park & show caverns. On Sundays you are likely to see many motorcyclists in Matlock Bath.

15.5 Miles - Pass through Matlock Bath.

16.6 Miles - Arrive Matlock.

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This information has been provided by Peak Tours, cycling and walking holidays in the Peak District.
www.peak-tours.com