Which bicycle trails in the Peak District are best suited for families with young children?

Embarking on a cycling adventure with your family is a fantastic way to combine exercise, sightseeing, and quality time. The Peak District, with its stunning landscapes, offers an array of bike routes that are perfect for families with young children. When choosing a trail, it's essential to consider factors such as traffic, the trail's length, and the availability of amenities like bike hire services and parks. This article will delve into the various family-friendly trails in the Peak District, providing comprehensive details to aid your selection.

The Monsal Trail

Nestled in the heart of the Peak District is the Monsal Trail. Boasting an 8.5-mile stretch, this trail is ideal for families with young kids as it is traffic-free, providing a serene and secure environment. It's an old railway line that has been repurposed into a cycle route, adding a touch of history to your journey.

The Monsal Trail is flat and well-surfaced, making it perfect for budding cyclists. Bike hire facilities are conveniently available at both ends of the trail, providing families with easy access to bikes. Additionally, there are several picnic spots along the route, allowing for breaks to rest, refuel or simply to soak in the beauty of the surrounding valley.

The Tissington Trail

The Tissington Trail, another railway-turned-cycle-route, is another gem in the Peak District. Stretching for 13 miles, the trail offers a longer journey for families who are up for a challenge.

Despite being slightly longer than the Monsal Trail, the Tissington Trail is predominantly flat, making it accessible for young cyclists. The traffic-free trail winds its way through the stunning Peak District countryside, offering breathtaking views. Bike hire services are available at Ashbourne and Parsley Hay, making it easy for families to kickstart their adventure.

The Tissington Trail passes through the picturesque Tissington village, where families can take a break and explore. The trail also runs through Dovedale, a renowned beauty spot, providing a great opportunity for a picnic.

The High Peak Trail

The High Peak Trail is another splendid peak district cycling route. This 17.5-mile trail combines with the Tissington Trail at Parsley Hay, providing an extended, more challenging route for families looking to push the boundaries.

While this trail is longer, it remains family-friendly with a well-surfaced, traffic-free route. The High Peak Trail takes cyclists through the scenic Derbyshire Dales, offering a visual feast of the Peak District’s diverse landscapes.

Bike hire services are available at the Middleton Top Visitor Centre, where families can also learn about the trail's history as a former railway line. There are facilities for refreshments along the trail, making it easy to fuel up during the journey.

The Manifold Trail

The Manifold Trail is a superb option for families with young children. This 8-mile trail, running through the Manifold Valley, is a quieter route compared to the others, offering a peaceful cycling experience.

The surface of the trail is generally good, but there are sections where it can get rough - suitable for families up for a bit of an adventure. The Manifold Trail is a traffic-free route, creating a safe environment for kids to cycle.

On this route, families can enjoy the spectacular views of the Manifold Valley, with numerous spots for breaks or picnics. Bike hire services are available in the village of Waterhouses, located at one end of the trail.

The Derwent Reservoirs Trail

The Derwent Reservoirs Trail offers a unique cycling experience in the Peak District. This 15-mile trail encircles the Ladybower, Derwent, and Howden reservoirs, offering panoramic views of the water bodies and the surrounding hills.

Though longer, the trail is mostly flat, making it accessible for young cyclists. The route is traffic-free, with parts of it running through a woodland park, adding a touch of wilderness to your cycling adventure.

Families can hire bikes at the Fairholmes Visitor Centre, located at the trail’s start. There are also picnic areas and cafes along the trail, perfect for breaks during the journey. While cycling, families can enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the reservoirs, adding an aquatic touch to your Peak District cycling experience.

The Carsington Water Circular Route

Embark on a circular route around Carsington Water for a fun-filled family cycling adventure in the Peak District. The 8-mile cycle route is perfect for families with youngsters as it is traffic free and offers a variety of interesting sights along the way.

The trail commences at the Carsington Water Visitor Centre where you'll find bike hire services, making it convenient to start your ride. The route is predominantly flat, making it accessible for young cyclists. As you pedal along the trail, you'll pass through a variety of habitats, including woodlands and wetlands, home to a rich diversity of wildlife.

The trail offers excellent views of Carsington Water, a man-made reservoir, giving your ride a nautical backdrop. There are multiple picnic spots and playgrounds along the trail, providing ample opportunities for breaks. Additionally, the visitor centre hosts a cafe where you can refuel after your ride. Don’t forget to browse through the gift shop for some locally sourced souvenirs before you leave.

The Millers Dale to Blackwell Cycle Route

The Millers Dale to Blackwell cycle route is a part of the Monsal Trail and is ideal for families seeking a shorter, less strenuous ride. This 6-mile route is completely traffic-free and mostly flat, providing an easy and safe ride for youngsters.

Starting from the Millers Dale car park, the trail leads you through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the Peak District National Park. The route takes you through the impressive Chee Dale, renowned for its limestone crags and beautiful wildflowers.

Bike hire services are available at Blackwell Mill, ensuring you can easily access bicycles for the journey. Along the route, there are ample spots for picnics, offering a chance to rest and enjoy the serene surroundings. The tunnel at Litton is a highlight of the journey, promising an exciting experience for the kids.


The Peak District is truly a haven for family-friendly cycling. With these traffic-free routes, families with young children can safely embark on cycling adventures, enjoying the stunning views that this national park has to offer. Each trail offers unique sightseeing opportunities, from the verdant landscapes of the High Peak and the Monsal Trail to the aquatic views at Carsington Water and the Derwent Reservoirs Trail.

Remember, bike hire services are widely available across these trails, making it hassle-free to kickstart your ride. Whether you prefer gentle miles along flat surfaces or a slightly more adventurous ride on rougher terrain, there is a cycle route in the Peak District to meet your family's needs.

So buckle up, hire those bikes, and get ready for an unforgettable ride through the Peak District’s most scenic routes. The memories you make on these trails will surely be cherished for years to come.