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Macclesfield Forest/Fernilee Loop

Macclesfield Forest/Fernilee Loop

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Macclesfield Forest/Fernilee Loop

Page Type: Trail

Location: United Kingdom, Europe

Lat/Lon: 53.24005°N / 2.06989°W

Trail Type: Cross Country

Technical Difficulty: Medium

Aerobic Difficulty: Medium

Layout: Loop

Elevation Gain: 4720 ft / 1439 m

Length: 26.0 Mi / 41.9 Km

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Andy Livo

Created/Edited: Apr 29, 2011 / Oct 18, 2011

Object ID: 280736

Hits: 4659 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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Fernilee Reservoir
Fantastic ride this afternoon 22nd March. Cold but .....Top!

This is a good hard ride on the edge of the Peak District. It combines two loops to make an epic ride which has pretty well all you want. Great views, technical descents, long climbs the lot. You can tackle the individual loops or link them as I have done here. You won't be diasppointed with this offering!


Trail Description

Ridgegate Reservoir in Macclesfield Forest
Looking to Coombs Reservoir from Long Lane

Park the car at Ridgegate Reservoir just outside the little village of Langley. On a calm day you'll get a great photo!!
1. Ride back up the lane to the pub at the head of the reservoir. and turn right shirting the edge of the forest which is on your right.
2. After just under 0.5 mile you will see a gate on your left and a double track climbing up into the forest. Take it!! Follow this track as it twists and climbs for about 1 mile until you reach a gate and a small metalled lane called Hacked Way Lane. Turn right and climb the lane for 400 yds.
3. On the right is a rought track called Charity Lane which climbs for a short distance and then makes a great descent to another lane. Turn left and you will see a small chapel on your left. Go past this keeping right and then make another off road descent to the road in the "Bottom of the Oven".
4. Turn left and join another road up to the junction where there is a phone box. Turn right and climb on the road for 1 mile. At the junction turn right again onto the busy A537 climbing up to the pub the Cat and Fiddle, which is apparently the second highest pub in Britain!
5. From the Cat and Fiddle proceed along the A537 towards Buxton for only 200 yds and turn left and down the hill for about 1mile. At the bottom there is a car park and some toilets. Go straight on the old coach road. This gets you off the tarmac and onto a fairly easy climb up to the summit with views over to the Cat and Fiddle and down towards Buxton. This is the highest point on the ride at 1,560 feet, but because the gradient is generally moderate, it is a fairly easy 4 mile climb.

Combs Reservoir in Bloom!

Great Climber

6. The fun really starts with the descent down towards Buxton. The first section is typical Peak District, a lot of small to medium stones across the wide track. Towards the middle there is a short section with much larger rocks, these demand more concentration if you are to stay upright.
7. The end of the descent in on gravel then tarmac as you pick up a minor road, then a short section of the A53 towards Buxton. After 0.4 mile, take a side road on the left, this leads to a new estate on the left, take the right hand fork and go either through the stream or over the footbridge and climb up to the golf course. Pass the clubhouse on your left and take a narrow path with the course on the left and trees/bushes on the right. This is a tough climb, steep and with steps built in to it. It is, however, short and brings you out on the A5004, also known ominously as Long Hill.
8. Follow the route uphill for just over half a mile and you will see a narrow lane going steeply uphill ahead and on the right. Follow this as it turns into a rough track whilst continuing to climb to just over 1,500 feet before descending on broken tarmac near the White Hall Outdoor Pursuits Centre. Bear right and join the tarmac keeping straight ahead at the junction and down. The road climbs and descends towards Wythen Latch. Take the byway on the right. Go through the gate.
9. This contours at first, then descents pleasantly down to the road near Thorny Lee.
Keep left here with Ladder Hill on your left and then start the steep and stony climb.
10. The track levels off the surface becomes sandy and smooth. This is where you meet the puddles. They are all rideable and difficult to get round so just accept the wet feet! These bring you out on a nice fast descent to the road.
11. Turn right and go down hill for about 300 yards, then turn left up through a little estate, then left again to pick up a path that passes to the right of Shallcross Hall Farm and on down a narrow track to the main road the A5004. Cross the main road and look for an opening that takes you steeply down to the River Goyt. You can cross at the ford if it is shallow, but if in doubt use the bridge to the right.

The Epiphany - Maiden Ride

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12. There is then a short steep tarmac climb up to Taxal Church on the right. Turn left at the top, past Glebe Farm, and follow the farm track (Whiteleas Road) uphill until you meet a track coming in from the right at Overton Hall Farm, join it, turning left then follow the hairpin to the right and down to the stream. Go through the gate and about 200 yards ahead you have a choice. You can take the farm road ahead (a footpath really) and drop down towards the dam, or go up to the right to join the forest road. This passes Oldfield and the climbs gently through the forest. When we rode it, it had been badly churned up by forest machinery and was largely un-ridable. After about a mile and a half this brings you out almost opposite a car park.
13. Follow the road past Errwood Reservoir and up for just over 2.5 miles. You will reach the toilets at Derbyshire bridge. Turn left and climb back to the Cat and Fiddle. Once there turn left on the track opposite the pub for 1.5 miles dropping down into Danebower Hollow and to the road.
14. Turn right and pick up the road the A54 for 0.7 miles. Turn right onto a rough track which climbs for a short while and then make a fantastic rocky descent for 1.3 miles passing through a ford near the end.
15.Turn right onto the lane and make your way back to the forest taking a left turn after 1.2 miles up a very steep narrow "Quiet Lane". At the top there are great views and a forest track through a gate on your left. Take this.
16. Ride up the edge of the forest and then into it with a nasty little climb off to the left near the footpath to Shutlingsloe. The trail continues through the forest and downhill opening out to views across the area and some benches. Be sure to look at the Downhill Course which is just beyond the benches on the right. Drop down the track to the lane turn right then left and the reservoir is there. Back to the car!

Getting There

Opening Climb
Macclesfield Forest Loop, Cheshire, England

Macclesfield is about 12 miles from Stockport in the North West of England.

From Stockport take the A6 through Hazel Grove and then the A523 to Macclesfield. Go through Macc. following signs to the left for Sutton and Langley. After 3 miles you pass through Langley village. Turn right at the pub, Leather's Smithy, at the head of the reservoir and park on the left.

You can park further along the lane in the official car park which costs £3.50 for the day. There is a mobile cafe there at weekends.

Macc Forest has a downhill course if that is you thing.

When to Bike

Macc Forest
Macc Forest

Biking is year round. There shouldn't be any problems. Obviously more difficult if there has been snowfall but that shouldn't be a problem really!