This Mountain Bike route lies just south of the Peak District, taking you on bridleways, rural lanes and the Churnet Valley Cycleway (aka Oakamoor to Denstone Greenway).
Be aware that parts of the route are on footpaths, so to stay legal please dismount on these sections.
The route starts at the Oakamoor Picnic site where there is free parking, toilets and drinking water available. As you leave the Car Park turn right and then left onto the main road (B5417). You then start a long, steep category 4 road climb approximately 1 mile long. This is the most challenging climb of the route so probably best that it’s at the start while the legs are still fresh!.
Once over the top of the climb you take a left on to Greendale Lane and enjoy a long, fast road descent. After about ¼ mile you come to a junction, continue straight on taking the bridleway signposted on the other side of the road. Follow the trail through Dimmingsdale Wood crossing over a narrow stream. After a short distance look out for the small waterfall on your left. You then come to another shallow stream which you can easily ride across.
Shortly after the 2nd stream you come to a fork in the trail, take the path on the right here. You should then pass a series of ponds on your right. Take care here as the path becomes quite narrow, so dismount or stop to allow any walkers through. After the ponds, continue on this path for about another ½ mile. Eventually you come to some benches and a bridge on your right. There are various paths and trails here going in different directions, but you want to continue straight on using the bridleway that follows alongside the stream.
Bear in mind that this section of the trail gets quite muddy and rooty so you may have to dismount in places. After about 200 metres you’ll come to a boundary wall, go right here taking the path across the stream. Then go left and follow the path for another 100 metres or so. The end of the path narrows and gets very muddy here so you may have to walk this section. The path then comes out outside a large house on your left with a garden and big pond on your right. Continue straight ahead then turn right onto the wider trail known as the Ousal Dale Track.
Follow this trail until it comes out opposite the Ramblers Retreat tearoom. Ice Creams and home-made cakes are available in the tearoom if you feel in need of a break/refuelling. Now pick up the bridleway that runs along the right-hand side of the car park. Stay on this until you come to a fork in the trail and take the track going off to the right. When you pass a house on your left the trail becomes quite narrow, steep and muddy so you may have to walk this section.
At the top of the climb the trail opens out and goes through a series of farmhouses on your left. Carry straight on past these until you come to a junction, go left here, then left again when you reach the main road. This is a nice undulating road section with pleasant views across the surrounding countryside. Stay on this road for approximately 1 mile then take a right following the signs for Great Gate. Descend on the road for about 1 mile keeping an eye out on your left for a bridleway opposite Wood Farm.
Take the bridleway and follow it across several fields as it tracks alongside the hedgerow. Parts of this trail can be quite tough going where the grass is overgrown. After about a mile on the bridleway you’ll come to the last field. Here it’s very difficult to see the actual trail on the ground, so if possible go straight across the middle of the field aiming for the gate on the other side. However, it may be easier to go around the bottom edge of the field if the centre has been recently ploughed.
Once through the gate continue straight on for a few hundred metres until you reach a minor road. Take a right here and follow the road for about 1 mile. Then go left and after about ¾ mile take a left, following the signs for Stubwood. Stay on this road for about a mile as it passes through the picturesque village of Stubwood. Then take a right at the mini roundabout and after a short distance join the Churnet Valley Cycleway on your left.
The Churnet Valley Cycleway forms part of National Cycle Network Route 54 and follows an old dismantled railway line through a series of woodlands. It’s a mostly flat, smooth trail with a well-compacted gravel surface. The track provides excellent views of the surrounding countryside which includes a mixture of birch, willow, oak and ash woodlands as well as meadowlands. These habitats along with the nearby River Churnet support a variety of wildlife including Otters, Water Voles, Badgers, Foxes, Herons and Buzzards.
After about 2¾ miles you pass the old Alton Station which closed in 1965. However, in 1972 it was bought by the Landmark Trust who converted it into self-catering holiday accommodation. Then in 2008 funds became available for the Landmark Trust to fully refurbish the building and also incorporate the Waiting Room block into the accommodation.
About 2 miles later you’ll come to the end of the cycleway. Turn right here and follow the road until you come to some crossroads. Go right here and return back to the start at the Oakamoor Picnic site. This route is a slightly modified version of the Oakamoor route from the Good Mountain Biking Guide book. My version continues on the bridleway through Dimmginsdale Wood, whereas the original version takes you up a footpath to the Ranger. I would recommend doing this route during the dryer summer months as some of the trails can be very muddy and unrideable.
- Some picturesque water features at Dimmingsdale Wood
- Very pleasant ride along the Churnet Valley Cycleway
- Some sections require riding on footpaths
- One very steep unrideable climb
- No technical trail features or off-road descents
- Long, steep road climb right at beginning of ride