Many old Derbyshire packhorse routes are now used as bridleways and the hills have opened up for those of us in the saddle …
The Pennine cycleway passes through some magnificent landscapes, but for something a little less arduous and away from the roads, try the perimeter tracks around the reservoirs at Derwent and Carsington, which have magnificent waterside scenery.
There are a number of good pony trekking and riding centres through the area, and riders can also enjoy a long-distance trek on the Pennine Bridleway, which starts in the Peak District and uses former pack-horse routes and disused railway tracks.
The Pennine Bridleway is a new purpose built trail for horse riders, mountain bikers and walkers. The trail is 73 miles between Middleton Top and Summit (on the Mary Townley Loop) and takes 2-4 days by bike and 4-5 days on horse or foot. The 47 mile Mary Towneley Loop takes 2 days by bike and 3-4 days on horse. Further information can be obtained by calling the Countryside Agency who have produced an Accommodation and Services Guide for the trail. There are also good horsecare facilities at the old Hartington Station.
Shipley Country Park the miles of relaxing footpaths and bridleways that weave through the Amber Valley, used by author DH Lawrence as the setting for his controversial Lady Chatterley’s Lover are also extremely popular with riders. A bridleway runs alongside the lakes and nature reserves and is surrounded by attractive woodland.
The Five Pits Trail provides an off-road surfaced route for walkers, cyclists and horseriders. It is a 5½ mile linear route from Grassmoor Country Park to Tibshelf Ponds, passing through a mainly agricultural and woodland landscape. The Trail can be extended to 7½ miles by following the route through Williamthorpe Ponds and Holmewood Woodlands.
The High Peak Trail runs for 17.5 miles from High Peak junction, near Cromford, to Dowlow, 6 miles south of Buxton.
At Parsley Hay it is joined from the south by the Tissington Trail, which runs from 13 miles from Ashbourne.
The High Peak and Tissington Trails were formerly the Cromford and High Peak and the Ashbourne to Buxton railway lines. You can walk, cycle or ride a horse on the trails all year round.
The Manifold Track, a favourite for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, follows the route of the disused Leek and Manifold Light Railway, through the Manifold and Hamps Valleys from Waterhouses to Hulme End. The track is surfaced and fairly level throughout its length. Watch out for the rivers of the Manifold and Hamps as they disappear beneath the porous limestone and reappear in Ilam Country Park. Climb the steps to Thor’s Cave (250 ft above the track) for magnificent views across the
Derby is the county town in Derbyshire with Derby Cathedral dominating the town.
Three heritage trails surround the city centre and another six can be found in the suburbs of Allestree, Chellaston, Darley Abbey, Markeaton, Mickleover and Spondon.
Six popular country walks that allow you to enjoy the beautiful countryside around Derby itself.
Derbyshire is also home to many wonderful Stately Homes such as Hardwick Hall and the Medieval Manor House, Haddon Hall.
The county has rich varied landscapes, and a wide variety of equestrian centres and riding schools.
Any competition rider or leisure horse owner will find a wealth of equestrian facilities in Derbyshire.
With such a varied landscape, such a richness of wildlife and such a wealth of cultural heritage no equestrian could possibly be disappointed.
As well as horse riding Derbyshire is a paradise for walking and family cycling holidays, mountain biking and adventure sports such as caving, rock climbing, hang gliding and paragliding.
And there’s also plenty to do if you have a more relaxed approach to nature and the great outdoors.
Other Derbyshire Equestrian trails include :
- Chesterfield Canal
- Derby Canal (Sandiacre)
- Doe Lea Local Nature Reserve
- Elvaston Castle Country Park
- Glapwell Countryside Site
- Grassmoor Country Park
- Hepthorne Lane
- Holmewood Woodlands
- Newton Link
- Peter Fidler Reserve
- Pewit Carr Local Nature Reserve
- Pleasley Pit Country Park
- Poulter Country Park
- Rowthorne and Pleasley Trails
- Sett Valley Trail
- Shipley Country Park
- Sleet Moor Plantation
- Stockley Trail
- Tibshelf Ponds
- Williamthorpe Ponds