This is a superb ride which has it all - long tough climbs, technical descents, a ford crossing and brilliant vistas across Cheshire, Derbyshire and the city of Manchester. These trails take you into the Cheshire hills and allow you to extend if you wish, linking with other routes e.g. Hayfield in The Peak District, or just cut short if time is at a premium. This particular ride will leave you gasping in some sections and grinning in others but it is all do-able. Just take your time and a breather when you need it!
Park the car just outside Marple above Roman Lakes.
1. Ride down and past Roman Lakes on Lakes Road. Follow the River Goyt past a lovely stone cottage and up to a tunnel. Bear left into the railway tunnel and up past the farm at Stawberry Hill.
2. The track bears to the right and becomes narrower and starts to climb through the woods leaving the river behind. The railway line is on the right.
3. After 400 yds ride up to the gate and turn right onto a rough pot holed road past a farm on the right.
4. The trail goes right on the bridge over railway line. The road drops down past a house and to a junction.
5. Turn left here and onto the cobbled road and head towards the tunnel with the station on the right.
6. Under the tunnel turn right and start to climb. This climb is for 0.5miles and goes through a canopy of trees. It gets rougher and steeper towards the end and pops out onto a lane with the pub, The Fox and Hounds Inn, on the left and a red phone box on the right. This is called Brook Bottom.
7. Turn right and carry on for 200yds to the green bench on the right and stop for the views!
8. Immediately opposite the bench turn left and climb on this trail for just over 0.5 miles to the junction. The golf club is on the right. Now is the time to decide whether to extend or to loop back!!
9. Turn left on the metalled road and follow it for just over 0.5 miles passing a cottage on the right. Don't miss the views across the valley to Kinder. Turn right just before the stables on the left and drop down a rough track to the road. Turn right here and then left onto a “Restricted Byeway” after 100yds. Follow this narrow rocky track down and it pops out onto a lane. Turn right here.
10. Proceed along the metalled lane past Lydiate Farm and Aspenshaw Hall for just under one mile making sure you keep left at the junction. The road runs out and becomes a narrow rocky dirt trail which changes in character each ride. Carry on up this steep trail for 0.3 miles which feels like five!! Pass through the gate and turn left onto a wide unsurfaced track.
11. After 0.5 miles you will reach a junction. The best track is down. It is called the Eliminator, a rocky drop offy descent for 0.3 miles. This is brilliant and will test your bike skills. At the pick up the road and bear right past the Little Mill Inn with working (well moving!!) water wheel.
12. After about 100yds past the Inn turn right at the white cottage and down a lane which turns into a narrow dirt track. This leads up to another lane. Carry on past the red phone box and cottages for about 75yds and turn right. In front of you there is a row of lovely stone cottages.
13. Proceed up the metalled lane until it levels out and you will see a gate on the right. Turn here and descend the trail with gorse bushes on either side. Pass through the ford and by the mill pond and house on the left. Go through the gate and onto the lane. Climb up this lane for 0.25 miles past the house on the left until you see the Pennine Bridal Path signposted on the right.
14. Turn up this double track and carry on as it swings to the right through the gate and on for 1 mile past Matleymoor Farm until you hit the junction by Blackshaw Farm. Turn right through the gate and take the track following the wall. You will see it climb up the hill in front of you.
15. Proceed along and climb up to the gate and through it. After half a mile you reach the junction you were at in 11. Keep left and retrace your steps. After 0.5 miles you reach the the gate on the left which leads down this time, past Aspenshaw Hall and Lydiate Farm again.
16. Carry on up the lane and keep riding up the hill. Do not turn left onto that “Restricted Byeway” but rather up to the road junction. Here go straight ahead and left onto a potted double track for 0.5 miles. Turn right at the stables and past the house for 0.3 miles. Take the left turn up.
17.Watch for a break in the stone wall on the left and cycle up to the huge Marple Cross for views across Manchester. If you are feeling brave drop down from the cross to the road junction and turn left. Follow this down for 200yds. Watch for the narrow single track on the right and take it. This becomes rocky and fun! Keep right and drop down on a loose surface between the houses.
18. Turn right here and through the golf course. Turn left and drop down. Notice the camp site on the right. The road runs out and becomes a great rocky track. Drop down this and past the farm at the bottom. Keep right and follow the lane round and back up to the car!
From Stockport head out on the A626 towards Marple. Pass through Marple towards Strines and turn left at the sharp right hand bend immediately after Marple with the park on the right.
Follow the road down and across the T junction. Go straight across and this becomes steep and pot holed leading to Roman Lakes. Park the car along here.
When to Bike
This is a year round trail. It has to be said that it is much more fun when it is dry but that is so rare in this neck of the woods!
A great set of maps can be bought called Mellor Magic and Mellor Mania which are particularly good and have many of the variations possible.