Access Cycling

Lyme Park agrees return of evening cycle access to extra paths

Lyme Park’s ranger team are informally allowing cycling on two extra routes again until the end of summer, as per the terms of a “trial” initiated before the pandemic.

The two extra paths, which are best suited to mountain bikes, are the route over the top of Cage Hill and the track up through Knightslow Wood to Bowstonegate.

Cycle access is permitted on weekday evenings only, from 5pm to closing time (currently 8pm), until 30th September.

An information poster from 2019, which Lyme Park have agreed can informally apply for the rest of this summer, allowing cycle access on the two routes marked in green.

No signs will be added, given its now rather late in the year, so access is agreed just on an “informal” basis.

Normally, Lyme only allows cycling on its surfaced (tarmac or gravel) tracks, roughly extending to each of the main entry gates, plus the lower grassy track below The Cage and the old quarried area known as The Knott (as shown in blue on the map above).

From its south end, note that the path over the top of the Cage should be accessed via a gentler grassy hill slightly east of the obvious, steeper route up. The north end is bumpier stone, so it’s probably best ridden south to north.

Rocky path to Lyme’s main car park.
View of Lyme Hall and The Cage from Knightslow Wood.

The trail to Bow Stones begins from the gate to the south west of the main car park. It begins as loose chunky stone then heads through a beautiful woodland with perhaps the most classic “Lyme” view in the whole park — the Hall and Cage in one shot. Emerging onto the moor, it then climbs very sharply and bumpily to the summit with a stunning view back over Cheshire.

Given the tough ride up, it may be preferred to use this route only as a descent, climbing the narrow public road to Bow Stones from Mudhurst Lane instead, but do note the only access in here is a very cycle un-friendly tall ladder stile.

Ladder stile from Bow Stones road.
Descent from Bowstonegate.

This “trial” of allowing cycling on extra paths at the National Trust estate near Disley first began in 2017, following engagement with park users, and continued in 2018 and 2019.

With Lyme unable to keep its parkland open into the evening during the pandemic due to reduced staffing, there was no possibility of it returning for 2020 and 2021. Longer hours thankfully returned for 2022 and have been an absolute delight.

Having first contacted Lyme way back in April (!) asking if the extra evening cycle access can apply again, it’s taken a long time to get confirmation. But at last we’ve now got one month at least to officially enjoy these wild paths and those wondrous September sunsets from Bow Stones.

See the Lyme Loop and Lyme Lanes cycle routes for how to get to Lyme Park mostly avoiding the A6, from either Middlewood Way, the Peak Forest Canal or Marple Ridge and High Lane. A handy downloadable pocket guide and map covering routes both is also available.

Watch this (car parking) space

Over £12 million is due to be invested in flood mitigation and visitor infrastructure at Lyme in the next few years, likely to include a major redesign — and possible permanent expansion — of its car parking.

This needs to be watched closely as a real opportunity to advocate for improved permanent access and facilities for cycling — both to enable sustainable access through and to the park for visitors and to unlock the park’s potential as a real cycling destination.

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About Peaks & Puddles

Hello, I'm Anthony. I started Peaks & Puddles to chart the ups and downs of cycling and walking the edges of the Peak District around Buxton, Macclesfield and Stockport, and to help more people explore this brilliant landscape between town and country. Find out more about me and Peaks & Puddles here.