Bradbourne, Haven Hill, Kniveton, Atlow Winn, Atlow, Agnes Meadow Bridge, Madge Hill, Kniveton, Wigber Low, Bradbourne
Distance = 22.4 km (13.9 miles); off road = 10.7 km
Total Ascent = 639m
Ride Time = 2 to 2.5 hours
Maps = OS White Peak (OL 24) & Derby (259)
This is a deceptively tough route. It tests your physical and mental endurance as well as your riding and navigation skills. It is especially demanding in wet conditions when the grassy sections become skating rinks. For those riders who prefer the good life, an easier variant is available.
Head out of Brassington on the road to Bradbourne. Upon entering Bradbourne, turn left onto the road to Carsington and Kniveton (signposted). Follow this for 700m to where a track heads off right. Take the track, go down the hill, over the small bridge and up the other side passing Haven Hill on the right.
At the tarmac road on top of the hill, turn right and go 700m to where the track to Whitelands Farm goes off right. Opposite the track is a wooden gate. Go through this and stay on the uphill side of the hedge across the grass fields to the small lane at Standlow. Turn left and follow the lane to the B5035 main road.
Do a right then left shimmy across the main road (care) onto a track signposted ‘unsuitable for motors’. Where the track splits after 400m, take the left fork to ‘Atlow Wynn Farm’. Leave the track at a right hand bend with a cow shed on the left. Go straight on and follow a bridle path down a bumpy grass field. At the bottom is a small lane continuing steeply down the hill to Atlow.
Turn right at the grass triangle with the seat in the middle and cycle up the hill. Where the road begins to level off is a junction with a large, red-brick house in front. Have a rest and prepare yourself for next section.
What follows is Ridge Lane – a brilliant, fast, bone-shaking track more than 2 km long. It heads off to the right from the junction itself. Follow the track along the ridge, down a steeper section, through some trees and out onto the road at Agnes Meadow Bridge. Phew.
Get your breath back (you will need it). Turn right, go over the bridge and right again at the start of the long climb up Madge Hill. This climb starts easily enough on tarmac, but becomes progressively more difficult. After Woodhead it turns into a rough track and near the top of the hill it becomes a quagmire where walking will probably be necessary.
About 80m before the trig-point on the summit of the hill is a gate across the main track with a small, rickety gate to the left. Through the rickety gate is a bridle path. It is difficult to describe the turn any better than this as there are no signposts. If you miss it, just go to the trig-point and come back.
Follow the bridle path across the grass field to an unfinished shed that looks like Woodhenge. There is a wonderful panoramic view here. Just beyond the shed, turn right through a gate and, keeping the hedge on your right, go all the way down the hill to Kniveton. This section is fast and great fun. It is mostly bumpy grass, but also has some rocky bits, some muddy bits and a ford to cross. The final few hundred metres is a track that emerges onto the B5035 in front of the school.
Turn left then right across the main road (care) and follow the lane for 300m to a junction. Take the second right which has a sign for ‘Newhouse Farm’ and after another 300m you should reach the track to Whitelands Farm again.
This time, take the track and keep straight on past the farm. Go through some horse stables and down a narrow path between two hedges. Stick to the left hand side of the big grass field as far as the first large tree. Then head diagonally across the field following the line of the two other large trees. Go through a gate and follow the right hand side of the wall along the foot of Wigber Low. The wall veers sharply away at one point, but you continue straight on down a bush lined path with roots. Enter another grass field and cross this diagonally to meet a track coming in from the left.
Join and follow the track down a steep, rocky hill to a busy main road at the bottom (the B5056). Avoid riding along the main road by using the dedicated cycle path to the right. This curves around behind Bradbourne Mill to emerge on a minor road. Turn right and go up the hill to Bradbourne village.
In Bradbourne, follow the road leftwards. Brassington is reached after a further 3 km of up and down riding.
Not So Bravelow (variant) - green on the map
This easier variant replaces the long, cross-field sections of Kniveton with tracks and minor lanes. It adds 900m to the overall distance (= 23.3 km), but the ride time and difficulty is reduced considerably.
At the top of Madge Hill, continue along the very muddy track instead of turning left onto the bridle path. The track quickly improves and is followed to a junction with the B5035. Turn right and immediately left onto the lane past Standlow. At the next crossroads, go straight on and follow the twisting lane past Closes Farm. After 900m, turn right in front of Kniveton Wood Farm and follow the track until it rejoins the original route at the head of the steep drop to the B5056.
Very Bravelow (variant)