Cycling in Ilam


Converted former railway lines, such as the Tissington, High Peak and the Manifold Trails offer great routes for cycling. Sections of the Monsal Trail boast safe, traffic-free cycling along relatively level tracks through stunning countryside.

Ilam Hall sits in 84 acres of National Trust parkland next to the river Manifold. It is close to many Cycling trails and routes. Whether you are a family, an avid cyclist or a novice there is the perfect route for you. Here are some examples of cycling opportunities in the local area. 

Tissington Trail
Suitable for: Family, Disabled, Groups, Energetic
Start/Finish: Ashbourne (Mapleton Lane) or Parsley Hay (off A515 near Hartington)/Parsley Hay (off A515 near Hartington) or Ashbourne (Mapleton Lane)
Length: 13 miles / 21km
Description: A linear route along the trackbed of a former railway, parallel with the Ashbourne-Buxton A515. It begins with a 350m-long tunnel out of Ashbourne then makes its way north past Tissington, Alsop and Hartington to merge with the High Peak Trail near Parsley Hay. Easy gradient and firm surface throughout, with picnic tables and toilets at the former Tissington and Hartington stations. Cycle hire available at either end.

High Peak Trail
Suitable for: Family, Access for All, Groups, Energetic
Start/Finish: High Peak Junction (near Cromford)/Dowlow (off A515 north west of Parsley Hay)
Length: 17.5 miles / 28km
Description: Although the eastern terminus of the former Cromford & High Peak Railway is down in the Derwent Valley beside the Cromford Canal, a long 1 in 8 incline at the start persuades many to begin/end their cycle ride a little further along the trail at Black Rocks or Middleton Top. From here the mostly level, traffic-free route heads north west across the open limestone plateau via a short tunnel. With sweeping views in every direction it finally merges with the Tissington Trail near Parsley Hay. Picnic tables at points along the way. Toilets at start/finish, Black Rocks and Middleton Top. Seasonal cycle hire at Parsley Hay and Middleton Top.

Ashbourne Loop via Hognaston
Suitable for: Energetic, Inspiration
Start/Finish: Ashbourne (Mapleton Lane), Grid ref SK 176469/Ashbourne (Mapleton Lane)
Length: 20 miles / 32km
Description: Begin by heading south through the town and out to the village of Osmaston, before veering north on further quiet lanes across the A52 to reach the village of Hognaston, near Carsington Water. Now it’s due west through the gently rolling countryside of Bradbourne and Tissington, before returning to Ashbourne on the Tissington Trail.

Carsington Water Circuit
Suitable for: Family, Access for All, Groups
Start/Finish: Carsington Water Visitor centre/Carsington Water Visitor Centre
Length: 8 miles / 12.9km
Description: The route is mostly along gravel tracks and follows the part wooded edge of the surprisingly wildlife-rich reservoir, passing numerous picnic sites on its gently undulating course. The section through Hopton and Carsington village is along a public road, but you can omit this by following the new traffic-free section above the reservoir's northern shore (see map download). Cycle hire and other facilities including public toilets are available at the main visitor centre (all-day parking); and cycle hire also operates from the Miners Arms at Carsington village.

Manifold Track
Suitable for: Family, Access for All, Groups
Start/Finish: Hulme End or Waterhouses/Waterhouses or Hulme End
Length: 9 miles / 14.5km
Description: A short but very attractive cycle route along the wooded valley floor that follows the route of the former Leek & Manifold Light Railway, a curious but ultimately unprofitable line that closed in 1934. The trail includes an information centre, seasonal cycle hire (southern end), tearooms and toilets. Most of the route is traffic-free, but there is one short section along a country lane used by vehicles.

Monsal Trail
Suitable for: Family, Access for All, Groups, Inspiration
Start/Finish: End of Coombs Road, Bakewell/Topley Pike, east of Buxton
Length: 8.5 miles / 13.7km
Description: This linear route along Midland Railway's former London to Manchester line begins near the historic market town of Bakewell, then via tunnels, cuttings and dramatic viaducts heads through the dramatic limestone scenery of the Wye Valley past old quarries and nature reserves. Mostly level, well surfaced and entirely traffic-free. Car parks and toilets at Bakewell, Hassop, Monsal Head and Miller's Dale. Note: the trail ends on the A6 and there is as yet no traffic-free cycling route through to Buxton.

White Peak West via Alstonefield
Suitable for: Energetic, Inspiration
Start/Finish: Parsley Hay/Parsley Hay
Length: 23 miles / 38km
Description: From Parsley Hay head south on the Tissington Trail to the former Alsop Station, before a steep descent to Milldale and a valley bottom lane to Hopedale. Now up to the lovely village of Alstonefield and easier hilltop lanes, then eastwards to re-cross the Dove at Beresford Dale and on to Hartington. Further quiet country lanes northwards via Needham Grange lead to the (current) end of the High Peak Trail near Dowlow, and an easy return to the start.

Hostels nearby

Cycling in Ilam

Ashbourne, Staffordshire, DE6 2AZ

Map references

OS Grid Ref: SK 13130 50671

Lat/Lng: 53.053133, -1.8055709

Contact information

Other things to do nearby


Climbing in Ilam

Raven's Tor in Dovedale offers superb crack and face climbing on solid rock, all in a beautiful setting above the river.


Climbing in Alstonefield

The White Peak offers climbing for all abilities. Popular sites include Dove Dale, the Manifold Valley and the famous Thors Cave - which boasts brilliant crags and bouldering.

Walking and Rambling in Ilam

Walking and Rambling around Ilam

The hostel is on the doorstep of one of the most beautiful limestone dales in Britain, with trails offering steep cliffs and spires, rare woodlands species and quaint picturesque villages.



Ashbourne has remained largely unchanged since the 18th century, with it's Medieval street pattern and historic buildings.  

Theme park

Alton Towers

There's something for all thrill seekers and families at Alton Towers, with tons of terrific (and terrifying!) rides and amazing live shows. Plus, there's CBeebies Land for the little ones.


Cycling in Hartington

YHA Hartington Hall is an ideal base to explore cycling of all natures from family friendly trails to endurance mountain biking routes.


Climbing in Hartington

The Peak District offers an ideal landscape for the more experienced climber, with amazing crags and bouldering opportunities just minutes from the hostel door.

Walking and Rambling in Hartington

Walking and Rambling in Hartington

In just 15 minutes you can be down by the River Dove, feeding the ducks, watching the herons and, if you're lucky, a kingfisher. A gentle, idyllic walk that everyone can enjoy.  

Carsington Water, with sail boats and other boats on shore

Carsington Water (Reservoir)

Visit Britain’s newest reservoir and explore the trails through spectacular scenery.  It offers a lovely day out for all the family with a children's play area, visitor centre, watersport centre